by A.W. Pink

In commencing the study of any book in the Bible it is well to remind
ourselves that each separate book has some prominent and dominant theme
which, as such, is peculiar to itself, around which everything is made to
center, and of which all the details are but the amplification. What that
leading subject may be, we should make it our business to prayerfully and
diligently ascertain. This can best be discovered by reading and rereading
the book under review. If other students before us have published the
results of their labors, it is our duty to carefully examine their findings in
the light of God’s Word, and either verify or disprove. Yet, concerning this
there are two extremes to guard against, two dangers to avoid. The first,
and perhaps the one which ensnares the most, is the assumption that other
students have done their work so well, it is needless for us to go over the
same ground. But that is laziness and unbelief: God may be pleased to
reveal to you something which He did not to them; remember that there are
depths in His Word which no human sounding-line has fathomed. The
second danger is the craze for originality and the egotistical belief that we
shall search more diligently than they who went before, and that therefore
the results of our labors will be an improvement over all who have
preceded us. This is unwarrantable conceit, from which may Divine grace
deliver us all.
With some books of the Bible we can more readily discover the central
theme than in others. This is noticeably the case with the first few books in
the Old Testament. It is as though God had made it easier at the beginning
so as to encourage us and prepare the way for some of the more complex
books that follow — complex so far as their leading subjects are
concerned. Historically considered, the book of Genesis is the book of
beginnings; but viewed doctrinally, it is seen to be the book which treats of
election: — God choosing Shem from the three sons of Noah to be the
channel from which should issue, ultimately, the Savior; God singling Out
Abraham to be the father of the chosen Nation; God passing by Ishmael
and choosing Isaac; God passing by Esau and choosing Jacob; God.3
appointing Joseph from all the twelve sons of his father to be the honored
instrument for making provision against the famine, and being raised to the
second place in all Egypt; finally, in the passing by of the elder of Joseph’s
sons and the bestowal of the firstborn’s portion on Ephraim (

we behold another illustration of the same principle. Yes, election is clearly
the characteristic doctrine of Genesis. And this is exactly what we might
expect. “God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation” (

Thessalonians 2:13), hence this truth is illustrated again and again in this
book which begins the Scriptures. Just as surely may we anticipate — in
the light of the New Testament — the dominant theme of Exodus.
Historically, the book of Exodus treats of the deliverance of Israel from
Egypt; but viewed doctrinally, it deals with redemption. Just as the first
book of the Bible teaches that God elects unto salvation, so the second
instructs us how God saves, namely, by redemption. Redemption, then, is
the dominant subject of Exodus. Following this, we are shown what we are
redeemed for — worship, and this characterizes Leviticus, where we learn
of the holy requirements of God and the gracious provisions He has made
to meet these. In Numbers we have the walk and warfare of the
wilderness, where we have a typical representation of our experiences as
we pass through this scene of sin and trial — our repeated and excuseless
failures, and God’s long-sufferance and faithfulness. And so we might
But to return to Exodus. This we have pointed out (as others before us
have done) treats of redemption. To the writer it appears that its contents
fall into five divisions, which we may summarize as follows: —
First, we see the need for redemption — pictured by a people enslaved:
chapters to 6.
Second, we are shown the might of the Redeemer — displayed in the
plagues on Egypt: chapters 7 to 11.
Third, we behold the character of redemption — purchased by blood,
emancipated by power: chapters 12 to 18.
Fourth, we are taught the duty of the redeemed — obedience to the Lord:
chapters 19 to 24.
Fifth, we have revealed the provisions made for the failures of the
redeemed — seen in the tabernacle and its services: chapters 25 to 40. In.4
proof of what we have just said we would refer the reader to

15:13, which we regard as the key verse to the book, “Thou in Thy mercy
hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed: Thou hast guided
them in Thy strength unto Thy holy habitation.” Note that here we have the
need for redemption implied — God’s “mercy”; the power of the
Redeemer is referred to — His “strength”; the character of redemption is
described — “led forth the people”; the responsibilities of the redeemed
and their privileges are signified in a reference to the tabernacle — “unto
Thy holy habitation.”
Another thing which is a great help in the study of Exodus is to note its
numerical position in the Sacred Canon. Exodus is the second book of the
Bible, and it will be found that the character of its contents fully accords
with this. The number two in its scriptural significations, treats of
difference or division. Proof of this is found in its first occurrence in the
Bible: the second day of Genesis was when God divided the waters.
Hence, two is the number of witness, for if the testimony of two different
men agree, the truth is established. Two is therefore the number of
opposition. One is the number of unity, but two brings in another, who is
either in accord with the first or opposed to him. Hence, two is also the
number of contrast, consequently, whenever we find two men coupled
together in Scripture it is, with rare exceptions, for the purpose of bringing
out the difference there is between them: for example, Cain and Abel,
Jacob and Esau, Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, etc.
Let us now see how these slightly varied meanings of the number two are
traceable in the character and contents of this second book of Scripture.
Two is the number of division. In the first chapter of Exodus we find
Pharaoh ordering a division to be made among the babies of the Israelites:
if a son was born he should be killed, if a daughter she should be spared. In
the plagues, the Lord made a division between His people and the
“And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which My
people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou
mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. And I
will put a division between My people and thy people; tomorrow
shall this sign be” (

Exodus 8:22, 23).
So, too, He divided between their cattle:.5
“And the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle
of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of
Israel” (

Exodus 9:4).
When Israel came to the Red Sea we are told,
“And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord
caused the Sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and
made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided” (

Again; it is only in Exodus (

26:33) that we read of the veil which was to
“divide between the holy place and the most holy.”
Two is also the number of witness, and mark how this note is sounded
throughout the book. The sufferings and groanings of the Hebrews
witnessed to their need of deliverance. The plagues bore witness to the
power and wrath of God, and it is noteworthy that God employed two
witnesses, Moses and Aaron, in announcing these to Pharaoh. The
Passover-night witnessed to the value and sufficiency of the blood. The
wilderness experiences of Israel witnessed to the faithfulness and tender
love of God. The giving of the law witnessed to the righteousness
government of Jehovah. The tabernacle bore typical witness to the
manifold perfections of Christ.
Again; two is the number of opposition. This is something which is
prominently marked in Exodus. The antagonism of the Enemy is very
manifest throughout. First, we behold it in the determined and cruel effort
made to prevent the increase of the Hebrews. Then we see the children of
Israel oppressed by merciless task-masters. Next, when Moses goes in and
performs his miraculous signs before the king, Pharaoh’s magicians
“withstood” him: and it is striking to observe that only two of their names
have been preserved in Holy Writ (

2 Timothy 3:8). In connection with
Israel’s exodus from Egypt, Pharaoh opposed every step of the way. Even
after Israel left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, we see the Amalakites
opposing them in the wilderness (

17:8) — note it was not the Israelites
who attacked the Amalakites, but the enemy who came to fight against the
people of God.
Finally, two is the number of contrast. Even a casual reading will reveal the
marked differences between the first two books of Scripture: let us note a
few of them. In the book of Genesis we have the history of a family, in
Exodus the history of a nation. In Genesis the descendants of Abraham are.6
seen few in number, in Exodus they are to he numbered by the million. In
the former we see the Hebrews welcomed and honored in Egypt, in the
latter they are viewed as feared and hated. In the former there is a Pharaoh
who says to Joseph, “God hath showed thee all this” (

41:39) ; in the
latter there is a Pharaoh who says to Moses, “I know not the Lord”

5:2). In Genesis there is a “lamb” promised (

22:8) ; in Exodus the
“lamb” is slain (chap. 12). In the one we see the entry of Israel into Egypt;
in the other we behold their exodus. In the one we see the patriarchs in the
land “which flowed with milk and honey”; in the other we behold their
descendants in the wilderness. Genesis ends with Joseph in a coffin; while
Exodus closes with the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle. A series of
more vivid contrasts could scarcely be imagined.
The central doctrine of the book of Exodus is redemption, but this is not
formally expounded, rather is it strikingly illustrated, in earliest times, God,
it would seem, did not communicate to His people an explicit and
systematic form of doctrine; instead, He instructed them, mainly, through
His providential dealings and by means of types and symbols. Once this is
clearly grasped by us it gives new interest to the Old Testament scriptures.
The opening books of the Bible contain very much more than an inspired
history of events that happened thousands of years ago: they are filled with
adumbrations and illustrations of the great doctrines of our faith which are
set forth categorically in the New Testament epistles. Thus “whatsoever
things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (

15:4), and we lose much if we neglect to study the historical portions of
the Old Testament with this fact before us.
The deliverance of Israel from Egypt furnishes a remarkably full and
accurate typification of our redemption by Christ. The details of this will
come before us, God willing, in our later studies. Here, we can only call
attention to the broad outlines of the picture. Israel in Egypt illustrates the
place we were in before Divine grace saved us. Egypt symbolizes the
world, according to the course of which we all walked in time past.
Pharaoh, who knew not the Lord, who defied Him, who was the inveterate
enemy of God’s people, but who at the end was overthrown by God,
shadows forth the great adversary, the Devil. The cruel bondage of the
enslaved Hebrews pictures the tyrannical dominion of sin over its captives.
The groaning of the Israelites under their burdens speaks of the painful
exercises of conscience and heart when convicted of our lost condition.
The deliverer raised up by God in the person of Moses, points to the.7
greater Deliverer, even our Lord Jesus Christ. The Passover-night tells of
the security of the believer beneath the sheltering blood of God’s Lamb.
The exodus from Egypt announces our deliverance from the yoke of
bondage and our judicial separation from the world. The crossing of the
Red Sea depicts our union with Christ in His death and resurrection. The
journey through the wilderness — its trials and testings, with God’s
provision to meet every need — represent the experiences of our pilgrim
course. The giving of the law to Israel teaches us the obedient submission
which we owe to our new Master. The tabernacle with its beautiful fittings
and furnishings, shows us the varied excellencies and glories of Christ.
Thus it will be found that almost everything in this second book of the
Bible has a spiritual message and application to us
It is also to be remarked that there is much in the hook of Exodus that
looks forward to and anticipates the future. The historical portions of this
second book of Scripture have a dispensational as well as doctrinal value, a
prophetic as well as a moral and spiritual signification. There is not a little
in it that will minister instruction and comfort to the people of God in a
coming day, as well as to us now. History repeats itself, and what is
recorded in Exodus will be found to foreshadow a later chapter in the
vicissitudes of Abraham’s descendants. The lot of Israel in the Tribulation
period will be even worse than it was in the days of Moses. A greater
tyrant than Pharaoh will yet be “raised up” by God to chastise them. A
more determined effort than that of old will be made to cut them off from
being a nation. Groanings and cryings more intense and piteous will yet
ascend to heaven. Plagues even more fearful than those sent upon the land
of Pharaoh will yet be poured out upon the world from the vials of God’s
wrath. God shall again send forth two witnesses, empowered by Him to
show forth mighty signs and wonders, but their testimony shall be rejected
as was that of Moses and Aaron of old. Emissaries of Satan, supernaturally
endowed, will perform greater prodigies than did the magicians of Egypt.
A remnant of Israel shall again be found in the wilderness, there to be
sustained by God. And at the end shall come forth the great Deliverer, who
will vanquish the enemies of His people by a sorer judgment than that
which overtook the Egyptians at the Red Sea. Finally, there shall yet be an
even greater exodus than that from Egypt, when the Lord shall gather to
Palestine the outcasts of Israel from “the uttermost part of the earth to the
uttermost part of heaven.”.8
In addition to the illustrations of the various parts and aspects of the
doctrine of redemption and the prophetic forecast of Israel’s lot in the day
to come, there are in the book of Exodus quite a number of precious types
of the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. In many respects there is
a remarkable correspondency between Moses and Christ, and if the Lord
permits us to complete this series of articles, we shall, at the close,
systematize these correspondencies, and show them to be as numerous and
striking as those which engaged our attention when Joseph was before us.
In addition to the personal type of Moses we shall consider how the
burning bush, the Passover lamb, the crossing of the Red Sea, the manna,
the smitten rock, the tabernacle as a whole, and everything in it, looked at
separately, each and all tell forth in symbolic but unmistakable language the
manifold glories of Christ. A rich feast is before us; may God the Holy
Spirit sharpen our appetites so that we may feed upon them in faith, and be
so nourished thereby that we shall grow in grace and in the knowledge of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As the title of these papers intimates, we shall not attempt a complete verse
by verse exposition of the book of Exodus, rather shall we continue the
course followed by us in our articles on Genesis. Our endeavor will be to
stimulate the people of God to a more careful and systematic study of the
Old Testament scriptures, by calling attention to some of the hidden
wonders which escape the notice of the careless reader, but which cause
the reverent student to say with one of old, “I rejoice at Thy word as one
that findeth great spoil” (

Psalm 119:162). While we shall not ignore the
practical application of the message to our own lives, and shall seek to
profit from the many salutary lessons to be found for us in Exodus,
nevertheless, our chief concern will be the study of those typical pictures
which meet us at every turn. The next article will be devoted to Exodus 1,
and in the meantime we would urge the interested reader to make a careful
study of its contents. May the God of all grace anoint our eyes, and may
the Spirit of Truth constantly guide our thoughts as we pass from chapter
to chapter..9

The opening verse of Exodus carries us back to what is recorded in the
closing chapters of Genesis, where we read of Jacob and his family settling
in the land of the Pharaohs. On their entry they were accorded a hearty
welcome, for Goshen, which was “the best of the land” of Egypt,

Genesis 47:6), was allotted to their use. But not for long were they
suffered to dwell there in peace and comfort. It would seem that about
thirty years after their entrance into Egypt a spirit of enmity began to be
manifested toward them, engendered at first, perhaps, from the fact that
they were shepherds (see

Genesis 46:34); and which terminated in their
being subjected to hard bondage in the days of the new king which “knew
not Joseph.” That their peace was disturbed thirty years after their
settlement in Goshen seems clear from a comparison of

Acts 7:6 and

Exodus 12:40: in the former we are told they were “evilly entreated
four hundred years”, in the latter we are informed that “the sojourning of
the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt” was “four hundred and thirty
Several questions naturally suggest themselves at this point. What was
God’s reason for allowing Israel to spend so long a time in Egypt? Why did
He suffer them to be so cruelly treated? The purpose of God was that the
descendants of Abraham should occupy the land of Canaan, which He had
given to their father. But why should an interval of more than four hundred
years elapse before this purpose was realized? To this I think a twofold
answer may be returned. First, to prepare Israel for their inheritance. The
rough schooling they had in Egypt served to develop their muscles and
toughen their sinews. Also, their bitter lot in Egypt and their trials in the
wilderness were calculated to make the land that flowed with milk and
honey the more appreciated when it became theirs. Moreover, the land of
Canaan was too large for a single family or tribe, and the lengthy sojourn in.10
Egypt gave time for them to develop into a nation that must have
numbered fully two millions.
The second answer is suggested by

Genesis 15:16:
“But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the
iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”
God had told Abraham that his seed should sojourn in a strange land for
four hundred years, but in the fourth generation they should return to
Canaan, and then the iniquity of the Amorites would be filled up. The time
for God to deal in judgment with the Amorites was not fully ripe in the
days of Abraham: their iniquities had not reached the bound God had
appointed. Thus God ordered it that by the time the iniquities of the
Amorites were “filled up” (cf.

Matthew 23:32 and

1 Thessalonians
2:16) Israel was ready, as a nation, to be His instrument to destroy them.
“Whatever the actings of men in wickedness and high-handed
rebellion, they are made subservient to the establishment of the
Divine counsels of grace and love…. Even the wrath of man is
yoked to the chariot wheel of God’s decrees” (Ed. Dennett).
But why did God allow the descendants of Abraham to suffer such
indignities and trials at the hands of the Egyptians? Ah, does not the book
of Genesis again supply the answer! Was the wicked treatment of Joseph
by his brethren to pass unpunished? No, that could not be. They, like all
others, must reap what they had sown; reap the bitter harvest not only
themselves but in their offspring too, for the sins of the fathers are visited
upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. So it proved here,
for it was the “fourth generation” (

Genesis 13:15) which came out of
Egypt. Four generations, then, reaped the harvest, and reaped precisely
“whatsoever” had been sown; for just as Joseph was sold into slavery, and
carried down into Egypt, so in Egyptian slavery his brethren and their
children suffered!! And what a foreshadowing was this of the bitter
experiences of Israel during these nineteen centuries past, for their wicked
treatment of that blessed One whom Joseph so strikingly typified! They,
too, have reaped what they sowed. Israel delivered up Christ into the hands
of the Gentiles, and so into their hands they also have been delivered.
Christ was shamefully treated by the Romans, and the same people were
employed by God to punish the Jews. Christ was “cut off” out of the land
of the living, and from A. D. 70 Israel, too, has been “cut off” from the.11
land of their fathers. Thus we see again how inexorable is the outworking
of this law of sowing and reaping.
In our last chapter we intimated that the deliverance of Israel from
Egyptian bondage foreshadowed the redemption of sinners by Christ. The
land occupied by the enslaved Hebrews fitly portrays the place where the
unregenerate are. Egypt symbolizes the world, the world as a system, away
from God and opposed to Him. Concerning this we cannot do better than
quote from the excellent comments of the late Mr. F. W. Grant:
The land of Egypt is a remarkable land in this way, that it is a little
strip of country along the great river which makes it what it is, and
which is in perpetual conflict with the desert as to it. This desert
runs on both sides, and a little strip through which the river flows
alone is Egypt. The desert on each side hems it in, blowing in its
sands in all directions, and the river is as constantly overflowing its
banks and leaving its mud upon the sand, and renewing the soil.
The Scripture name is indeed not Egypt but Mizraim; and Mizraim
means “double straitness.” This doubtless refers to the two strips,
one on each side of the river.
The land is a very remarkable one, looking at it as the scene of perpetual
conflict between life and death. The mercy of God, feeding that land by the
rain of a far country, no rain coming down there. It is another remarkable
feature that rain seldom falls in Egypt. The rain falls far off. The people
know nothing about it. It comes rolling down in the shape of a mighty
river, and that perpetual stream ministers unfailing plenty to the land. They
are, so to speak, independent of heaven. Of course, I do not mean really;
but as to their thoughts, they are not on the clouds. They do not look up,
but down. It is the very thing God points out in contrasting the land of
Canaan with the land of Egypt, that Canaan, Israel’s portion, drinks in the
water and rain of heaven. Canaan is a land of dependence. Egypt is a land
of independence.
And that is the serious character of our natural condition, alas! what is
natural to us now — that we are independent of God! God indeed supplies
the streams of plenteous blessing, and none else than He; but they come so
regularly, so constantly, we speak wisely (?) of natural laws, and shut God
out. Just as they have been sending men for long, long years to explore the
sources of that river in Egypt, so men have been constantly seeking to
explore the sources of natural supply, and they have hardly succeeded yet..12
Egypt worshipped her river. The river came to her so constantly that she
was practically independent of heaven; yet heaven was the source of her
supply, She did not see the blue hills which shed down upon them what
themselves received. And they worshipped but the river. It is our state of
nature away from God. God was far off to us. We did not realize the
blessed hand from which all things came, and we took the blessings in
willful ignorance of the hand upon which both they and we in reality
But this Egypt was remarkable in other ways. It was remarkable, as you
know, as the abode of science and civilization. To that very wonderful
country people go now to study her monuments and admirable
architecture. Egypt built as if she had eternity before her to enjoy it in. Her
buildings were made to outlast by ages the people of the day who builded
them: they could not make the people last, yet they tried their best at that.
They embalmed their dead; and sent their dead down to the generations yet
to come, side by side with what their hands bad made, as if solemnly
saying: “Here are the mighty works of those over whom a mightier has
triumphed.” What a comment upon all her grandeur! Her main literary
memorial is a “book of the dead.” In her monuments death is stereotyped.
The desert, after all, has vanquished the river. The land of science and art is
a land of death, and not of life.
And that is the history of the world itself. Death is what is stamped upon it
everywhere. It is the stamp of “vanity” upon a fallen creation. It is more; it
is the stamp of Divine reprobation. For “in His favor is life.” Could He
repent and unmake, unless we had given Him cause for repentance? Surely
He could not. What a solemn thing that we should have given Him a
reason! When God is able to rest in His love, as He will bye and bye, that
will necessitate the eternity of the condition in which He can rest. All that,
in view of which He can rest, will be stamped as eternal.
The religion of Egypt was very remarkable. They had a religion in which
were embalmed the relics of another religion, the dead tradition of a life
that had been. There is no doubt about that. It is very remarkable in fact,
according to what they say, that the very expression which God employs to
Moses when He tells Moses His name, “I am that I am,” you find attributed
to God in the monuments of Egypt. And yet, with all that, what did Egypt
everywhere worship? Emphatically and universally, the creature and not
the Creator. Egypt which testified of the true God took up everything.13
which was His total opposite, and deified a hundred beastial objects, the
images, in fact, of their own lusts, and debased themselves by the service of
these. Their worship was a deification, — as all heathen worship is — of
their own lusts and passions. And that is everywhere what controls men
naturally as his god. You remember in the garden of Eden, Satan says to
the woman, “Ye shall be as gods.” It was the bait he presented to her: and
man has found that true in an awful way. As the apostle says of some, even
professing Christians, their “god is their belly.” That is, there is a craving in
man’s heart for something that will satisfy; and not being able to find
satisfaction in God, and not being able to trust God’s love and care, lust
and care devour him. He worships himself, in a way continually more and
more brutalizing and degrading.”
And how did the descendants of Abraham first get into Egypt? Let the
chapter before us make answer, and note its typical significance: “Every
man and his household came with Jacob” (v. 1). They came into the land of
bondage with their father Jacob: he was the one who brought them there.
Mark, too, the name here given to him — “Jacob”, which speaks of the
natural man, the “supplanter”; not “Israel” which was his new name, given
in sovereign grace. How clearly this speaks to us. We, too, entered the
place of spiritual bondage with our father, Adam. This was not the place
he first occupied: in Eden he was free to eat of all the trees of the garden,
with but a single restriction; but alas! he sinned, and this caused him to be
driven from the garden, and it was outside Eden that all his children were
born. They came into the place of bondage with him!
“And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly,
and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was
filled with them” (v. 7).
This was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Jacob, made as the patriarch
was journeying from Canaan to Egypt — “And he said, I am God, the God
of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee
a great nation.” And this was but a repetition of what God had declared to
Abraham long years before (see

Genesis 12:2). How comforting is this
to the children of God today. Unto us are given “exceeding great and
precious promises”, and these are the promises of Him who can not lie.
Rest, then, with implicit confidence on the sure Word — forever settled in
heaven — of the Lord our God..14
“Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not
Joseph” (v. 8).
To understand this we need to turn the light of other scriptures upon it.
This “new” king belonged not merely to a new dynasty, but was of a
different nationality: he was by birth an Assyrian, not an Egyptian. In

Acts 7:18 we read, “Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph.”
As one has pointed out there are in the Greek two different words for
“another”: allos, which means ‘another of the same kind”; heteros, which
signifies “another of a different kind.” It is the latter word which is used in

Acts 7:18. By turning back to

Isaiah 52:4 we learn what this other
kind (in this case, another nationality) actually was. There we read, “For
thus saith the Lord God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to
sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.” Our
purpose in calling attention to this is to remind the reader of the great
importance of comparing scripture with scripture, and to show how
scripture is self-interpreting.
“And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of
Israel are more and mightier than we” (v. 9).
The light afforded by the scriptures we have just looked at should remove
what has long been a difficulty in this verse. That the children of Israel
(who probably numbered about two millions all told, at this time) should be
more numerous than the Egyptians seems unthinkable. But this is not what
V. g states at all. Mark attentively its wording. “And he (the “new” king)
said to his people”, not “the people.” His people would be the Assyrians
who had conquered Egypt, and particularly those in that land policing the
country. Note the repetition of “his people” in verse 22.
“And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of
Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely
with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there
falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies (that is, lest the
Hebrews should unite forces with the Egyptians against the
Assyrian invaders), and fight against us and so get them up out of
the land. Therefore they did set over them task-masters to afflict
them with their burdens” (vv. 9-11).
This was the proud reasoning of the carnal mind, which is enmity against
God. It was the finite pitting itself against the Infinite. In thus oppressing.15
and afflicting the children of Israel we have an illustration of the world’s
hatred for the people of God (

John 15:18, 19). How true it is that “the
tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (

Proverbs 12:10) I How much,
then, dear reader, do we owe to the restraining power of God, which holds
in check the evil passions of men, and thus allows us to live a quiet and
peaceable life! Let the withholding hand of God be withdrawn for a short
season, and even now, His people would be sorely “afflicted” too.
“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and
grew” (v. 12).
This proves how thoroughly vain it is to fight against the purpose of Him
who hath sworn, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure”

Isaiah 64:10). Pharaoh might purpose to “deal wisely”, but “the
wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (

1 Corinthians 3:19).
God hath declared, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to
nothing the understanding of the prudent” (

1 Corinthians 1:19). So it
proved here — “the more they afflicted them the more they grew.” This
also illustrates a principle which has been exemplified again and again in
the history of Christendom. Times of severest trial have always been
seasons of blessing to the people of God. The more fiercely have burned
the fires of persecution the stronger has faith waxed. So, too, it should be,
and often has been, in individual lives. Opposition should cast us back
more and more upon God. Persecution results in separating us from the
world. Suffering ought to refine. The experience of the Psalmist was,
“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy
Word” (

Psalm 119:67).
May it prove true of writer and reader that “the more we are afflicted” the
more shall we “grow” in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord.
“And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which
the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:
And he said, when you do the office of a midwive to the Hebrew
women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall
kill him; but if it be a daughter, then she shall live” (vv. 15, 16).
It is not difficult to peer behind the scenes and behold one who was
seeking to use Pharaoh as an instrument with which to accomplish his
fiendish design. Surely we can discover here an outbreaking of the
Serpent’s enmity against the Seed of the woman. Suppose this effort had.16
succeeded, what then? Why, the channel through which the promised
Redeemer was to come had been destroyed. If all the male children of the
Hebrews were destroyed there had been no David, and if no David, no
David’s Son. Just as

Revelation 12:4 gives us to behold Satan working
behind and through the wicked edict of Herod, so we may discern him here
working behind and through Pharaoh.
But once more Egypt’s king was foiled, and again was Satan’s attacks
“but the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt
commanded them, but saved the men children alive” (v. 17).
Better might a worm withstand the tread of an elephant than the puny
creature resist the Almighty.
“There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the
Lord” (

Proverbs 21:30).
What comfort and confidence should this impart to the believer! If God be
for us, it matters not who are against us.
“Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people
multiplied, and waxed very mighty. And it came to pass, because
the midwives feared God that He made them houses” (vv. 20, 21).
Here we have one more illustration of the law of sowing and reaping.
These Hebrew midwives, who through fear of God had overcome the fear
of Pharaoh, dealt kindly with the male children of the Israelites, and they
were rewarded accordingly — “God dealt well” with them. God is not
unrighteous to forget any work and labor of love which is showed toward
His name or ministered to His people (

Hebrews 6:10). His promise is
“For them that honor Me, I will honor” (

1 Samuel 2:30). They “saved
the men children alive”, and God “made them houses”, which, in the light

2 Samuel 7:11,

1 Kings 2:24, etc., must mean that He, in turn,
gave them husbands and blessed them with children.
“And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is horn
ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive”
(v. 22).
We do not have to look far beneath the surface in order to discover here
the malignity of one more vile than Pharaoh. Just as the twelfth of.17
Revelation shows us that it was the Dragon himself who moved Herod to
attempt the death of the Christ Child, so here he was employing the king of
Egypt to destroy the channel through which He was to come. At the
beginning, God declared He would put “enmity” between the woman and
her Seed (

Genesis 3:15), and in the light of subsequent scriptures it is
abundantly clear that “the woman” is Israel — the one who was to bear the
Messiah. Here in the passage before us we have a forceful illustration of
the Serpent’s “enmity.” Had his effort succeeded, had all the male children
of the Hebrews been slain, the channel through which the Savior was to
come had been destroyed.
“And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, every son that is born
ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive”
(v. 22).
How this reminds us of the words of

Ecclesiastes 8:11:
“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily,
therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do
God bears with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to
destruction. Every opportunity is given them to repent; the day of mercy is
graciously prolonged for them; and if in the end they die in their sins, then
is their blood, unmistakably, on their own heads. How God frustrated this
last move of Pharaoh we shall see in our next chapter..18

From Adam to Christ there is none greater than Moses. He is one of the
few characters of Scripture whose course is sketched from his infancy to
his death. The fierce light of criticism has been turned upon him for
generations, but he is still the most commanding figure of the ancient
world. In character, in faith, in the unique position assigned him as the
mediator of the old covenant, and in achievements, he stands first among
the heroes of the Old Testament. All of God’s early dealings with Israel
were transacted through Moses. He was a prophet, priest, and king in one
person, and so united all the great and important functions which later
were distributed among a plurality of persons. The history of such an one is
worthy of the strictest attention, and his remarkable life deserves the
closest study.
“The life of Moses presents a series of striking antitheses. He was
the child of a slave, and the son of a queen. He was born in a hut,
and lived in a palace. He inherited poverty, and enjoyed unlimited
wealth. He was the leader of armies, and the keeper of flocks. He
was the mightiest of warriors, and the meekest of men. He was
educated in the court, and dwelt in the desert. He had the wisdom
of Egypt, and the faith of a child. He was fitted for the city, and
wandered in the wilderness. He was tempted with the pleasures of
sin, and endured the hardships of virtue. He was backward in
speech, and talked with God. He had the rod of a shepherd, and the
power of the Infinite. He was a fugitive from Pharaoh, and an
ambassador from heaven. He was the giver of the Law, and the
forerunner of grace. He died alone on Mount Moab, and appeared
with Christ in Judea. No man assisted at his funeral, yet God buried
him.” (Dr. I. M. Haldeman).
Exodus 2 furnishes us with a brief account of the infancy of Moses. The
king of Egypt was determined to check the rapid growth of the Hebrew.19
people. First, he had them placed under taskmasters, who were given
orders to “afflict them with their burdens.” But this measure failed entirely:
“The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.” Next,
the king gave orders to the Hebrew midwives that whenever a male
Israelite was born, he should be killed. But once more the evil designs of
Pharaoh came to nought. The mid-wives feared God, “and did not as the
king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.” Finally,
we are told,
“And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, every son that is born
ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive”

It was during this time and under such conditions that the future deliverer
of Abraham’s descendants was born.
“And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a
daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and
when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three
months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him
an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and
put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink”

Exodus 2:1-3).
Much of a sentimental nature has been written on these verses.
Commentators have reasoned that it was mother-love and the beauty of the
child which caused Jochebed to act as she did. But this will not stand the
test of Holy Writ. Scripture informs us that it was neither affection nor
infatuation but faith which was the mainspring of action.

11:23 declares,
“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his
parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not
afraid of the king’s commandment.”
Faith “cometh by hearing” (

Romans 10:17): the parents of Moses must,
therefore, have received a direct communication from God, informing them
of what should happen and instructing them what to do. And they believed
what God had told them and acted accordingly.
It was faith which saw that the child was “goodly” (in the sight of God), as
it was faith which made them defy “the king’s commandment” — first by.20
hiding the child, later in placing him in the ark of bulrushes. It is true that in
this instance grace did not run counter to natural affection; nevertheless, it
was not by feelings but “by faith” they acted. When commanded to do so,
we are to obey God against our natural affections. Thus it was with
Abraham when called to go out from the land of his birth and leave all his
kindred behind; and so later, when called upon to offer up Isaac.
Should it be asked, Wherein is the faith of Moses’ parents to be seen? The
answer is: In overcoming the fear of the king and in trusting God’s
protection for the preservation of the child. And is not the strength of their
faith evidenced by the selection of the place where the young child was put,
after he could be no longer hid in the home? Surely the parents of Moses
took him to the very last spot which carnal reasoning would have
suggested. The mother laid him “in the flags by the river’s brink”! But that
was the very place where the babies were drowned! Ah, is not that the last
location we had chosen? Would not we have carried him as far away from
the river as possible? It is to be noted that in

Hebrews 11:23 the faith of
both parents is spoken of, while that of the mother’s is singled out here in
Exodus 2 but his father receives particular mention by Stephen in

7:20. It is blessed to see this concurrence between them. Husband and wife
should go hand in hand to the throne of grace and act together in every
good work.
Ere passing from our notice of the faith of Amram and Jochebed there are
two other points which deserve notice. Though faith vanquished fear, yet
lawful means were used to overcome danger: the mother “hid” the child,
and later, had recourse to the ark. It is not faith but fanaticism which
deliberately courts danger. Faith never tempts God. Even Christ, though
He knew full well of the Father’s will to preserve Him, yet withdrew from
those who sought His life (

Luke 4:30;

John 8:59). It is not lack of
faith to avoid danger by legitimate precautions. It is no want of trust to
employ means, even when assured by God of the event (

Acts 27:31).
Christ never supplied by a miracle when ordinary means were to hand

Mark 5:43).
Another important truth which here receives illustration and
exemplification is, that civil authorities are to be defied when their decrees
are contrary to the expressed mind of God. The Word of God requires us
to obey the laws of the land in which we live and exhorts us to be “subject
unto the powers that be” (Romans 13), and this, no matter how wise and.21
just, or how foolish and unjust those laws appear to us. Yet, our obedience
and submission to human authorities is plainly qualified. If a human
government enacts a law and compliance with it by a saint would compel
him to disobey some command or precept of God, then the human must be
rejected for the Divine. The cases of Moses’ parents, of Daniel (

and of the apostles (

Acts 5:29), establishes this unequivocally. But if
such rejection of human authority be necessitated, let it be performed not in
the spirit of carnal defiance, but in the fear of God, and then the issue may
safely be left with Him. It was “by faith” the parents of Moses “were not
afraid of the king’s commandment.” May Divine grace work in us “like
precious faith” which overcomes all fear of man.
In the opening verses of our chapter we have a lovely picture of salvation.
The infant Moses was placed on the brink of the river, the place of death
— the last spot we had selected. It is so in salvation. Death is the wages of
sin, and from this there can be no escape. Having flagrantly broken God’s
holy law, justice demands the execution of its penalty. But is not this to
close the door of hope against us, and seal our doom? Ah, it is just at this
point that the Gospel announces God’s gracious provision and tells us
(what we had never conceived for ourselves) that life comes to us through
Though Moses was brought to the place of death, he was made secure in
the ark. And this speaks to us of Christ (It is significant that the Hebrew
word is used only here and in connection with the ark of Noah, which so
clearly typified Christ) who went down into death for us. The
righteousness of God made imperative the payment of sin’s awful wages,
and so his spotless Son “died the just for the unjust that He might bring us
to God” (

1 Peter 3:15). Thus, in Christ our Substitute, we too have
been in the place of death as was the infant Moses. And note that as it was
“faith” which placed him there, it is faith which identifies us with Christ.
Again; just as Moses was brought out of the place of death, so when Christ
rose again, we rose with Him (

Ephesians 2:5,6). The typical picture
may be followed still farther. In the merciful provision which the
providence of God arranged for the infant Moses (

Exodus 2:4) we have
illustrated the tender care of our heavenly Father for every babe in Christ.
And, later, in the entrance of Moses into the household and palace of
Pharaoh, we have foreshadowed the “mansions” on high, which are now
being prepared for us!.22
“And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the
river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when
she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And
when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe
wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the
Hebrews’ children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter. Shall
I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may
nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go.
And the maid went and called the child’s mother. And Pharaoh’s
daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me,
and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child and
nursed it” (

Exodus 2:5-9).
It was neither by chance nor accident that Pharaoh’s daughter went down
to the river that day, for there are no accidents nor chance happenings in a
world presided over by the living God. Whatsoever happens in time is but
the outworking of His eternal decrees — “for Whom are all things, and by
Whom are all things” (

Hebrews 2:10). God is behind the scenes,
ordering everything for His own glory; hence our smallest actions are
controlled by Him.
“O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in
man that walketh to direct his steps” (

Jeremiah 10:23).
It is because that whatsoever happens in time is the outworking of God’s
eternal decrees, that “all things are working together (the verb is in the
present tense) for good to them that love God, who are the called
according to His purpose.” Big doors often swing on small hinges. God not
only directs the rise and fall of empires, but also rules the fall of a sparrow.
It was God who put it into the heart of this Egyptian princess to go to the
river to bathe, and to that particular spot where the ark lay amid the flags;
as it was He who caused her to be moved with compassion (rather than
with indignation at the defiance of her father’s authority) when she beheld
the weeping child. And it was God who caused this daughter of the
haughty monarch to yield submissively to the suggestion of Miriam, and
made the princess willing for its own mother to care for the little child.
Only here can the mind repose in unruffled peace. What a haven of rest is
this — to know that “of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things:
to whom be glory for ever” (

Romans 11:36)..23
“And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and
nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman
took the child, and nursed it” (v. 9).
This whole incident of the Divine safeguarding of the infant life of Moses
supplies a striking and blessed illustration of God’s preservation of His
elect during their unregeneracy — a fact that few believers are as thankful
over as they should be. We believe it is this which explains a point that has
been a sore puzzle to many commentators in

Jude 1:
“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them
that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ,
and called.”
The order of the verbs here is most significant. The “sanctification” by the
Father manifestly speaks of our eternal election, when before the
foundation of the world God, in His counsels, separated us from the mass
of our fallen race, and appointed us to salvation. The “calling” evidently
refers to that inward and invincible call which comes to each of God’s elect
at the hour of their regeneration (

Romans 8:30), when the dead hear the
voice of the Son of God and live (

John 5:25). But observe that in Jude
1 it is said they are “preserved” in Jesus Christ, and “called.” Clearly the
reference is to temporal preservation prior to salvation. As the writer
looks back to his unregenerate days he recalls with a shudder a number of
occasions when he was in imminent peril, brought face to face with death.
But even then, even while in his sins, he was (because in Christ by eternal
election) miraculously preserved. What cause for gratitude and praise is
this! Doubtless, each Christian reader will recall similar deliverances out of
danger. It is this which

Exodus 2:6-9 so beautifully illustrates. Even in
his unregenerate days, as a babe, the Angel of the Lord encamped round
about the infant Moses and delivered him!
“And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter,
and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she
said, Because I drew him out of the water.” (v. 10)
This is a striking illustration of

Job 5:13 —
“He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the
froward is carried headlong.”.24
Pharaoh proposed to “deal wisely” with the Israelites, and this, in order
that they might not “get them up out of the land” (v. 10); and yet, in the
end, God compels him to give board, lodging, and education, to the very
man which accomplished the very thing that Pharaoh was trying to prevent!
Thus was Pharaoh’s wisdom turned to foolishness, and Satan’s devices
There are two passages in the New Testament which throw light on the
interval passed over between verses so and is in Exodus 2. In

Acts 7:22
we read, “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and
was mighty in words and in deeds.” But his heart was not in these things.
There was something which had a more powerful attraction for him than
the honors and comforts of Egypt’s court. Doubtless his believing parents
had acquainted him with the promises of Jehovah to his forefathers. That
the time was not far distant when the Hebrews were to be delivered from
their bondage and should journey to the land given to Abraham, Moses had
heard, and hearing he believed. The result of his faith is described in

Hebrews 11:24-26:
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called
the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction
with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a
season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the
treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the
Upon the character of his faith and this remarkable renunciation we can
only comment briefly.
The first thing to be observed is the nature of his renunciation: he
“refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” Josephus tells us that
Pharaoh had no other children, and that his daughter, Thermutis, had no
children of her own. So, most probably Moses would have succeeded to
the throne. That some offer was made to Moses, after he had reached
manhood, is clearly implied by the words “he refused.” What he refused
then was wealth, honors, power, and, most likely, a throne. Had he
accepted, he could readily have mitigated the sufferings of His own people,
and lightened their heavy burdens. But he “refused.”
Second, note the character of his choice: he “chose rather to suffer
affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a.25
season.” It was not that suffering was thrust upon him, but that he
voluntarily elected it. It was not that there was no escape from it but he
deliberately determined to throw in his lot with a despised and persecuted
people. He preferred hardship to comfort, shame and reproach rather than
fame and honor, afflictions rather than pleasures, the wilderness rather than
the court. A remarkable choice was this, and mark it, this was the choice
not of a child, but of a full-grown man; not of a fool, but of one skilled in
all the wisdom of the Egyptians.
Third, observe the satisfaction he enjoyed: “esteeming the reproach of
Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” The place Moses
volunteered to occupy was a hard one, in every respect the very opposite
of that in which he had been reared. Yet Moses did not repine or murmur.
So far from being dissatisfied with his bargain, he valued the “reproach”
which it brought him. So far from complaining at the affliction, he prized it.
He not only endured suffering, but he esteemed it as of more worth than
the wealth of the greatest and richest country on earth. In this he puts many
of us to shame!
Fourth, mark the motive spring of his actions: “By faith
Moses….refused….chose…. esteemed.” As another has said, “He must have
heard from God that he was not to accept this high privilege. In as much as
‘faith cometh by hearing’, Moses must have heard! And, inasmuch as this
‘hearing cometh by the Word of God’, God must have spoken or
communicated His will to Moses; for Moses heard, Moses believed, Moses
obeyed. God had other counsels and purposes with regard to Moses.
Moses must have been told that ‘God, by His hand, would deliver’ Israel
from Egypt’s bondage. The ‘things to come’ had been revealed to him. The
‘things of Christ’ had been made known ‘in part’. He knew God. He knew
that Jehovah had a people, and that they were in sore bondage in Egypt.
He knew that they were to be delivered. How, then, could he accept the
position of heir to Egypt’s throne?”
Finally, attend to the object set before him: “for he had respect unto the
recompense of the reward.” Moses must have “heard” of “the eternal
weight of glory”, and therefore he looked not at the “things that are seen.”
The pleasures of sin were of brief duration — only for a season but, in
view of the eternity of the glory, the “affliction” seemed brief — but “for a
moment,” and therefore, “light.” Moses, then, walked by faith and not by
sight; he had his eyes on the invisible, not the tangible; he was occupied.26
with the future rather than the present; and, consequently, it was an easy
matter to exchange the palace for the wilderness, and the pleasures of sin
for the reproach of Christ. May like precious faith be vouchsafed reader
and writer.
Returning to the narrative we are next told,
“And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that
he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he
espied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he
looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no
man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand” (

2:11, 12).
One of the features of Scripture which constantly impresses the writer is
the absolute fidelity with which the lives of Bible heroes are described.
Unlike so many human biographies, the characters of Scripture are painted
in the colors of nature and truth. They are described as they actually were.
An instance of this is before us here. Moses was truly a wonderful
character, and endowed with no ordinary faith; yet, the Holy Spirit has not
concealed his defects. Moses was in too big a hurry. He was running
before the Lord. God’s time had not yet come to deliver Israel. Another
forty years must yet run their weary course. But Moses waxed impatient
and acted in the energy of the flesh. Some writers have sought to vindicate
him, but the words “he looked this way and that, and when he saw there
was no man, he slew the Egyptian” make it evident that he was then
walking by sight, rather than by faith; and the fact that we are told he “hid
him in the sand” brings out his fear of being discovered. Thus we see that,
like ourselves, Moses was one who offended in many things (

James 3:2,
“And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the
Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong,
Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, Who made thee a
prince and a judge over us? Intendest thou to kill me, as thou
killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing
is known. Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay
Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the
land of Midian” (

This confirms our interpretation of the verses immediately preceding.
Moses’ eye was not on God but on man, and the fear of man bringeth a
snare. Apprehensive that Pharaoh might take vengeance upon him, he fled
to Midian. And yet while this is true from the human side, we ought not to
ignore the overruling Providence of God. The Lord’s time for delivering
Israel had not yet arrived; and what is more to the point, the act of Moses
was not at all in accord with the methods which He proposed to employ.
Not by insurrection on their part, nor by a system of assassination, were
the Hebrews to be delivered from the house of bondage. God, therefore,
caused this deed of Moses (which he believed had passed unwitnessed) to
become known, both to his own brethren and to the king. Thus did He
teach a salutary lesson to this one who was yet to be employed as His
servant. And is there not also a needed lesson here for us? When a servant
of God is not permitted to perform a certain service for Him, on which his
heart is set, it does not necessarily follow that this is due to some failure in
the servant himself; it may be because God’s time for the proposed service
is not ripe. Such was the case with David who, prompted only by an ardent
desire for God’s glory, was not permitted to build Jehovah a “house”; yet
in the end this “house” was built, though not by David or in David’s time.
“Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and
drew water, and filled the trough to water their father’s flock. And
the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and
helped them, and watered their flock. And when they came to
Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon
today? And they said, an Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of
the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the
flock. And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? Why is it
that ye have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread. And
Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses
Zipporah his daughter” (

Here again we may discern God working behind the scenes. That Moses
should have “stood up” against those shepherds, single-handed, shows
plainly that the Lord was on his side; and in thus befriending the daughters
of Reuel, Moses was enabled to win the esteem of their father. The sequel
shows how the Providence of God thus opened to Moses a home during
his long exile from Egypt. Thus did God make all things work together for
his good..28

In our last chapter we saw how Moses’ attempt to deliver Israel was
inopportune, for God’s time had not arrived. Moreover, the leader himself
was not fully prepared, nor were the Hebrews themselves ready to leave
Egypt. The impetuosity of Moses caused him to act with a zeal which was
not according to knowledge and this, as is usually the case, brought him
into serious trouble. The king sought his life, and to escape him, Moses
fled into Midian. So much for the human side. Turning to the Divine, we
are made to wonder at and worship before the infinite wisdom of Him who
maketh the wrath of man to praise Him and who bringeth good out of evil.
God had an important work for Moses to do and for this he must be
prepared. That work was to lead His people out of Egypt, and conduct
them unto the promised inheritance. And for this work Moses was not yet
equipped. It is true that this one who had become the adopted son of
Pharaoh’s daughter had received a thorough education, for he was “learned
in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” Nor was he any longer a youth, but
now forty years of age — in the very prime of life. Nor was he only a
student or theorist — he was “mighty in words and deeds” (

Acts 7:22).
What, then, was lacking? Surely here was one who possessed all the
necessary qualifications for leadership. Ah, how different are God’s
thoughts from ours!
“That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the
sight of God” (

Luke 16:15).
What we have enumerated above were but natural attainments and
acquirements; and the natural man is set aside before God, for no flesh can
glory in His presence (

1 Corinthians 1:29).
The “wisdom of the Egyptians”, profound as men esteem it, was, after all,
only “the wisdom of the world”; and that is “foolishness with God.” The
colleges of this world cannot equip for the Divine service; for that we must.29
be taught in the school of God. And that is something which the natural
man knows nothing about — “And the Jews marvelled, saying, How
knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” — in their academies

John 7:15). To learn in the school of God, then, Moses must turn his
back on the land of the Pharaoh’s. It is so still. The heart must be
separated, the spirit divorced from the world, if progress is to be made in
spiritual things. “The hand of man can never mould a vessel ‘meet for the
Master’s use’. The One who is to use the vessel can alone prepare it.”
“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of
Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came
to the mountain of God, even to Horeb” (

Exodus 3:1).
From Egypt to “the backside of the desert”, from the palace to the
sheepfold, was a radical change for this man who was yet to fill so
important a role. Tending flocks seems a strange preparation for one who
was to be the liberator of a nation of slaves. And again we are reminded of
how different are God’s thoughts and ways from man’s. And the ways of
God are not only different from ours, but they are obnoxious to the flesh:

Genesis 46:31 tells us, “Every shepherd is an abomination to the
Egyptians.” Thus God leads His servants to take that very place which is
hateful to worldlings.
“The ‘backside of the desert’ is where men and things, the world
and self, present circumstances and their influences, are all valued
at what they are really worth. There it is. and there alone, that you
will find a Divinely-adjusted balance in which to weigh all within
and all around. There are no false colors, no borrowed plumes, no
empty pretensions. The enemy of your souls cannot gild the sand of
that place. All is reality there. The heart that has found itself in the
presence of God at ‘the backside of the desert’, has right thoughts
about everything. It is raised far above the exciting influences of
this world’s schemes. The din and noise, the bustle and confusion
of Egypt, do not fall upon the ear in that distant place. The crash in
the monetary and commercial world is not heard there; the sigh of
ambition is not heard there; this world’s fading laurels do not tempt
there; the thirst for gold is not felt there; the eye is never dimmed
with lust, nor the heart swollen with pride there; human applause
does not elate, nor human censure depress there. In a word,
everything is set aside save the stillness and light of the Divine.30
presence. God’s voice alone is heard, His light enjoyed, His
thoughts received. This is the place to which all must go to be
educated for the ministry; and there all must remain if they would
succeed in the ministry” (C. H. M.).
What strikes us as even more strange is that Moses should have to remain
forty years in Midian. But God is in no hurry; nor should we be — “He
that believeth shall not make haste” (

Isaiah 28:16). There is much here
which every servant of God needs to ponder, particularly the younger ones.
In this day it is the common custom to pitchfork new converts into
Christian activities without any serious inquiry as to their fitness for such
solemn and momentous duties. If a person is “mighty in words and deeds”
that is considered all that is necessary.
“Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the
condemnation of the Devil” (

1 Timothy 3:6)
might as well not be in the Bible, for all the weight it has with most of our
In a place of retirement Moses spent the second forty years of his life; a
place where every opportunity for communion with God was afforded.
Here he was to learn the utter vanity of human resources and the need for
entire dependence on God Himself. To be much alone with God is the first
requisite for every servant of His. But why is it that no details are recorded
of God’s dealings with His servant during this interval? Practically nothing
is told us of the experiences through which he passed, the discipline of
which he was the subject, the heart exercises he suffered. As in the case of
the training of the prophets, John the Baptist, Paul in Arabia, this is passed
over in silence. Is it because God’s dealings with one of His servants are
not fitted to another? Are there not some things we can learn neither by
precept nor example? Certain it is that there is no uniform curriculum in
the school of God. Each servant is dealt with according to his individual
needs and disciplined with a view to the particular work which God has for
him to do.
“And he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the
mountain of God, even to Horeb” (v. 1).
Horeb was the name of a mountain range; Sinai, the “mount of God” (see

Exodus 24:12, 13), was a particular peak in that range. It was in this
same mount that, centuries later, the Lord met with and commissioned.31
Elijah (

1 Kings 19:4-11), as, perhaps, it was also at the same place He
gave the Gospel of His glory to the apostle Paul (

Galatians 1:17; 4:25).
“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out
of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned
with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will
now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt”

Exodus 3:2,3).
Here was a wonder which all the magicians of Pharaoh could not produce.
Here was something which must baffle all the wisdom of the Egyptians.
Here was a manifestation of God Himself. The Hebrew word here for
“bush” occurs in only one other passage, namely,

Deuteronomy 33:16,
where we read,
“And for the precious things of the earth and fullness thereof, and
for the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush.”
In this verse the word for “dwelt” is “shall-chan.” It was, then, the
Shekinah glory which was now displayed before the wondering eyes of
Moses. This, we take it, is the meaning of “the angel of the Lord appeared
unto him in a flame” here manifested in the Shekinah-glory.
The “Angel of the Lord” was none other than the Lord Jesus in theophanic
manifestation, for in verse 4 He is denominated “Lord” and “God.” This
sets forth a truth of vital moment to the servant of God. Before Moses can
be sent forth on his important mission he must first behold the ineffable
glory of the Lord. To serve acceptably we must work with an eye single to
God’s glory, but to do this we must first gaze upon that glory. It was so
here with Moses. It was thus with Isaiah (Isaiah 6). It was the same in the
case of the great apostle to the Gentiles (

Acts 9:3, etc.). Make no
mistake fellow-laborer, a vision of the glory of God is an essential
prerequisite if we are to serve Him acceptably.
Ere considering the Lord’s words to Moses, let us first turn aside and view
the “great sight” of the Burning Bush. We are satisfied that there is much
here of deep significance; may God grant us discernment to understand and
Spiritually the Burning Bush speaks of the Gospel of God’s grace. The
symbol used was unique and startling. A bush burned with fire, and yet the
bush (in that and desert a most inflammable object) was not burnt. Here.32
was a mysterious phenomenon, but it set forth a mystery far more
profound — the former natural, the latter moral. Fire in Scripture is
uniformly the emblem of Divine judgment, that is, of God’s holiness in
active opposition against evil. The final word on the subject is, “Our God is
a consuming fire” (

Hebrews 12:29). Here, then, is the deeper mystery:
How can God, who is ‘a consuming fire’ — burning up all that is contrary
to His holy nature — reveal Himself without consuming? Or, to put it in
another form: How can He who is “of purer eyes than to behold evil and
canst not look on iniquity” (Hab. 1:13) have to do with men, other than in
judgment! Nothing but the Gospel contains any real solution to this
problem. The Gospel tells of how grace reigns, not at the expense of
righteousness, but
“through righteousness, unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our
Lord” (

Romans 5:21).
And how has this been accomplished? By the Holy One of God being made
a “curse” for us (

Galatians 3:13). It is deeply significant that the word
“seneh” means “thorny bush”, for thorns are the lasting reminder of the
curse (

Genesis 3:18). Into the place of the curse entered our blessed
Substitute. The fierce flames of holy wrath engulfed Him, but, being
“mighty” (

Psalm 89:19), they did not, and could not, consume Him.
The “Root out of a dry ground” perished not. It was not possible that
death should hold the Prince of life. Three days only did He remain in the
tomb: on the third day He came forth triumphant, and is now alive for
evermore. And it is as the God of resurrection He now saves. Note how
this, too, comes out in our type. Said the Savior to the Sadducees, “Now
that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he called
the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob. For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto
Him” (

Luke 20:37, 38). And how perfect this type is: it was not until
after the Deliverer (Moses) had been rejected by Israel (

Exodus 2:14)
that God thus revealed Himself at the bush!
But there is a dispensational significance as well. Equally clear it is that the
Burning Bush was a figure of the nation of Israel. At the time the Lord
appeared here to Moses, the Hebrews were suffering in “the iron furnace
of Egypt” (

Deuteronomy 4:20), but fiercely as the flames had burned
against them for fully forty years, they had not been consumed. And so also
has it proven all through these many centuries since then. The fires of.33
persecution have blazed hotly, yet have they been marvelously,
miraculously sustained. And why? Ah, does not our type make answer?
God Himself was in the Burning Bush; and so He has been with Israel. Just
as He was there with the three Hebrews in the midst of Babylon’s furnace,
so has He been with the Jews all through their checkered history. In the
day to come this will be fully owned, for then shall it appear,
“in all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His
presence saved them” (

Isaiah 63:9).
While the miraculous preservation of Israel during all their fiery trials is no
doubt the prominent thought here, there are others equally significant. The
symbol selected by God was most suggestive. It was not in a majestic tree
of the forest that God appeared to Moses, but in a humble acacia, or thorn-bush
of the desert. And how fitly this represented both the lowly origin of
the Hebrew people — “A Syrian ready to perish was my father”

Deuteronomy 26:5); and their subsequent history — a separated
nation, dwelling as it were in the desert. Nor is this all. This humble bush,
which possessed neither beauty nor comliness, became, temporarily, the
abode of Jehovah, and from it He revealed Himself to Moses. And has it
not been thus with Israel: it is from their midst God has manifested
Himself. Finally, the fact that it was an acacia bush burning with fire,
represented in a forceful figure the spiritual history of Israel — bearing
thorns rather than fruit, and in consequence, being chastened of God.
Naturalists tell us that thorns are abortive branches, which if developed
would bring forth leaves and fruit.
“And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called
unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And
he said, Here am I. And He said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy
shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy
ground” (vv. 4, 5).
How this helps to interpret for us the moral meaning of the “flame of fire”
— the activities of Divine holiness. The Shekinah-glory which abode upon
the mercy-seat over the ark was not only the evidence of Jehovah’s
presence in Israel’s midst, but was the manifest emblem of His holiness —
abiding in the Holy of Holies. It was in holiness God was about to deal
both with the Egyptians and with His own people, and of this Moses
needed to be instructed. He must put off the shoes of every day walk and
life, and draw near in the spirit of true worship. Another important lesson is.34
this for the servant of God today. Each laborer in the vineyard needs to
keep constantly before him the fact that the One with whom he has to do,
and whom he serves, is holy, thrice holy. A realization of this would check
the lightness and levity of the flesh.
“Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of
Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid
his face; for he was afraid to look upon God” (v. 6).
Thus the Lord stood revealed before Moses as the covenant-keeping God,
the God of all grace. When God picked up Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and
made them the fathers of His chosen people, it was not because of any
excellence in them, seen or foreseen; rather was it His pure sovereign
benignity. So, too, now that He is about to redeem the Hebrews from the
land of bondage, it is not because of any good in them or from them. It is
as the God of Abraham — the sovereign Elector; the God of Isaac — the
almighty Quickener; the God of Jacob — the long-suffering One; who is
about to bare His arm, display His power and deliver His people. And in
this same threefold character does He act today. The God of Abraham is
our God the One who sovereignly chose us in Christ before the foundation
of the world. The God of Isaac is our God — the One who by His own
miraculous power made us new creatures in Christ. The God of Jacob is
our God — the One who bears with us in infinite patience, who never
forsakes us, and who has promised to perfect that which concerns us

Psalm 138:8).
“And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people
which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their
taskmasters; for I know their sorrows (v. 7).
Mark carefully the condition of these Hebrews: crushed by the cruel
oppression of Egypt’s slavery; groaning beneath the iron rod of Pharaoh.
And how this pictures the condition of the natural man, the bond-slave of
sin, the captive of the Devil. This is true not only of the slave of lust or the
helpless victim of drugs, but of the moral and refined. They, too, are in
bondage to gold, pleasure, ambition, and a dozen other things. The
“affliction” which sin has brought is everywhere to be seen, not only in
physical suffering, but in mental restlessness and heart discontent. The
varied “lusts of the flesh” are just as merciless as the Egyptian taskmasters
of old; and the “sorrows” of sin’s slaves today just as acute as those of the
Israelites midst the iron furnace of Egypt. What woe there really is behind.35
the fair surface of society! How fearful the misery which has come on the
whole race of man through sin! How great the need for the Savior! How
terrible the guilt of despising Him now that He has come!
“And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people
which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their
taskmasters; for I know their sorrows” (v. 7).
The One speaking here is termed in the second verse “the Angel of the
Lord.” This we know from

Malachi 3:1, and other scriptures, was
Christ Himself, in theophanic manifestation. It is very helpful and
instructive to trace Him as “the Angel of the Lord” all through the Old
Testament. The first time He is thus brought before us is in

16:13: “And she called the name of the Lord (the “Angel of the Lord”, see
vv. 9, 10) that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I
also here looked after Him that seeth me?” The second occurrence is in

Genesis 21:17
“And the Angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said
unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not; for God hath heard
the voice of the lad where he is.”
Thus, in the third reference here in Exodus 3, we have combined the
“seeth” and “heard” which are the central things in the first two. Let the
interested reader follow out the other references for himself. How blessed
for us to know that there is One above who never slumbers nor sleeps, but
“hears” and “sees” all our afflictions!
“For I know their sorrows” (v. 7). With this should be compared

Exodus 2:23:
“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt
died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage,
and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the
The tenderness of the original is hidden by this rendering. The R. V. gives
it: “And it came to pass in the course of those many days, that the king of
Egypt died”, etc. How these words throb with Divine compassion. There
were between fourteen and fifteen thousand “days”, during that forty years
of Moses’ sojourn in Midian; and each of them were days of anguish for
them. But God had not ignored them, nor been indifferent to their hard lot.36
— “I know their sorrows.” How blessed for us, in times of stress and
distress to remember that there is One above who takes notice. This was
how Job consoled himself (see

Job 23:10). The Call Moses received and
his Responses thereto we reserve for separate consideration..37

In our last chapter we contemplated Moses in Midian and pondered the
significance of God appearing to him in the burning bush. It was there he
received his call and commission to act as Jehovah’s favored instrument in
delivering His people from their hard bondage. As Moses turned aside to
behold the amazing sight of the bush burning and yet not being consumed,
the voice of God addressed him. First, God reminded Moses of His
holiness (v. 5). Next, He revealed Himself in covenant-relationship (v. 6).
Then, He expressed His compassion (v. 7). Then He declared His purpose:
“I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians”, etc.
(v. 8). Finally, He addressed Himself to His servant: “Come now therefore,
and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people
the children of Israel out of Egypt” (v. 10).
Ere considering Moses’ Call, let us weigh what is recorded in verses 7 and
8: “And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people which
are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I
know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand
of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land
and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.” Notice the
completeness of this statement.
First, the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people
which are in Egypt.”
Second, “And have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters.”
Third, “For I know their sorrows.”
Fourth. “And I am come down to deliver them.”
Fifth, “Out of the hand of the Egyptians.”
Sixth, “And to bring them up out of that land unto a good land”, etc..38
Seventh, “Unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk
and honey.”
Second, observe the definiteness and positiveness of Jehovah’s assertions.
There were no “perhaps’s” or “peradventure’s.” It was no mere invitation
or offer that was made to Israel. Instead, it was the unconditional,
emphatic declaration of what the Lord would do — “I am come down to
deliver.” So it is now. The Gospel goes forth on no uncertain errand. God’
Word shall not return unto Him void, but
“it shall accomplish that which He pleases, and it shall prosper in
the thing whereunto He sends it” (

Isaiah 55:11).
Finally, admire the blessed typical picture here, a prophetic picture of the
Divine Incarnation. First, the Divine compassion which Prompted the
unspeakable Gift: “I have surely seen the affliction of My people which are
in Egypt” — God contemplated the wretched condition of sinners and their
need of deliverance. Second, the Incarnation itself: “I am come down.”
Thus it was fifteen hundred years later, when Jehovah — Jesus left His
Father’s House on high and came down to these scenes of sin and
suffering. Third, the Purpose of the Incarnation: to “deliver” His people
and “bring them up out of that land”, which symbolizes the world. Fourth,
the beneficent design of the Incarnation: to “bring them into a good land
and large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey” — to bring us on to
resurrection ground, where there would be everything to satisfy and rejoice
the heart.
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou
mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt”

Exodus 3:10).
Notice the little word which we have placed in italics. God is not to be
rushed: our business is not (irreverently) to seek to hurry God, rather is it
to wait on Him and for Him. For many long years had the groans and cries
of the distressed Hebrews gone up; but the heavens were silent. Forty years
previously, Moses had become impatient at the delay, and thought to take
matters into his own hands, only to discover that the time for deliverance
was not yet ripe. But “now.” Now the four hundred years of servitude and
affliction (

Genesis 15:13) had run their ordained course. Now the hour
for Divine intervention had struck. Now the time for Jehovah to deal with
the haughty oppressor of His people had arrived. Now the children of Israel.39
would be in a condition to appreciate the promised inheritance. The
pleasant pastures of Goshen and the carnal attractions of Egypt had, no
doubt, quelled all longings for Canaan, but now that their afflictions were
fast becoming unbearable, the land flowing with milk and honey would be a
pleasing prospect.
And now that the time for deliverance had arrived, what is the method of
Divine procedure? A captive people is to be emancipated; a nation of
slaves is to be liberated. What, then, is the first move toward this? Had
God so chosen He could have sent forth His angels, and in a single night
destroyed all the Egyptians. Had He so pleased He could have appeared
before the Hebrews in person and brought them out of their house of
bondage. But this was not His way. Instead, He appointed a human
ministry to effect a Divine salvation. To Moses He said, “I will send
thee….. that thou mayest bring forth My people….. out of Egypt.” There is
little need to apply this to ourselves. God’s way then, is God’s way now.
Human instrumentality is the means He most commonly employs in
bringing sinners from bondage to liberty, from death to life.
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou
mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt”
(v. 10).
What, then, is the response of our patriarch? Surely he will bow in worship
before the great I am at being thus so highly honored. Surely he will ask, in
fullest submission, “Lord, what would’st Thou have me to do?” But how
did Moses reply?
“And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto
Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of
Egypt?” (v. 11).
Moses at eighty was not so eager as at forty. Solitude had sobered him.
Keeping sheep had tamed him. He saw difficulties in himself, in the people,
and in his task. He had already tried once and failed, and now for long
years he had been out of touch with his people. But while all this was true,
it was God who now called him to this work, and He makes no mistakes.
“And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto
Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of
Egypt?” (v. 11)..40
This brings out a principle in connection with Divine service which is
strikingly illustrated in Luke 9. In verse 57 we read, “And it came to pass,
that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will
follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.” In response our Lord said, “Foxes
have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not
where to lay His head.” Then we read, “And He said unto another, Follow
Me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said
unto Him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the
kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow Thee; but let
me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.” The
principle is this: When the will of man acts in self-appointed service, he
does not feel the difficulties in the way; but when there is a true call from
God these are felt. Thus it was with Moses. When he went forth in the
energy of the flesh (

Exodus 2:11, etc.) he was full of confidence in the
success of his mission. This comes out clearly in

Acts 7:25:
“For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that
God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.”
But now that he is called of God to this work he is very conscious of the
difficulties in the way. The discipline of the “backside of the desert” had
not been in vain. Shepherding had chastened him.
The Lord, therefore, graciously encourages him by promising to be with
him and assuring him of the ultimate success of his mission.
“And He said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token
unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the
people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain” (v.
This was very comforting. God did not ask Moses to go forward alone: an
all-mighty One would accompany him. And this is still the Divine promise
to each Divinely-called servant. I doubt not that the apostles must have felt
much like Moses when the risen Savior commissioned them to go and
preach the Gospel to every creature — Who am I that I should go? If so,
their hearts were reassured with the same promise Moses received — “Lo I
am with you alway.” And fellow-worker, if the Lord has manifestly called
you to some task for which you feel utterly insufficient, rest on this
precious promise — “Certainly I will be with thee.” This is a word that
every one engaged in Christian service needs to take to heart. When we.41
think of what is involved in bringing a soul out of darkness into light; when
we encounter the fierce opposition of the devil; when we face the frowns
and sneers of the world, little wonder that we hesitate, and ask, “Who is
sufficient for these things?” But take courage faint-heart, and remember the
unfailing promise, “Certainly I will be with thee.”
“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children
of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath
sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name?
What shall I say unto them?” (v. 13).
Let us not be too quick to condemn Moses here — the Lord did not! This
was no small difficulty for Moses. No visible presence would accompany
him. He was to go alone to the enslaved Hebrews and present himself as
the Divinely-sent deliverer. He was to tell them that the God of their
fathers had promised to free them. But, as we shall see later, this was not
likely to make much impression upon a people who were, most of them at
least, sunk in the idolatries of the Egyptians. He felt that they would
quickly want to know, Who is this God? What is His character? Prove to
us that He is worthy of our confidence. And does not a similar difficulty
arise before us! We go forth to tell lost sinners of a God they have never
seen. In His name we bid them trust. But cannot we anticipate the response
— ”Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us” is still, in substance, the
demand of the doubting heart. Moses felt this difficulty; and so do we.
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus
shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto
you” (v. 14).
At first sight this may strike us as strange and mysterious, yet a little
reflection should discover its profound suggestiveness to us. “I am” is the
great Jehovistic name of God. Dr. Pentecost says, “It contains each tense
of the verb ‘to be’, and might be translated, I was, I am, and I shall always
continue to be.” The principle contained in this word of Jehovah to Moses
contains timely instruction for us. We are to go forth declaring the name
and nature of God as He has been revealed. No attempts are to be made to
prove His existence; no time should be wasted with men in efforts to
reason about God. Our business is to proclaim the Being of God as He has
revealed Himself in and through Jesus Christ. The “I am” of the burning
bush now stands fully declared in the blessed Person of our Savior who
said, “I am the bread of life”, “I am the good Shepherd”, “I am the door.”.42
“I am the light of the world”, “I am the way, the truth and the life”, “‘I am
the resurrection and the life”, “I am the true vine. He is the eternal “I am”
— ”the Same, yesterday, and today, and forever.”
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus
shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto
you” (v. 14).
There is a depth here which no finite mind can fathom. “I am that I am”
announced that the great God is self-existent, beside whom there is none
else. Without beginning, without ending, “from everlasting to everlasting”
He is God. None but He can say “I am that I am” — always the same,
eternally changeless. The apostle Paul could say “By the grace of God I am
what I am” — what grace has made me, but he could not say “I am that I
“And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the
children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of
Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me
unto you: this is My name forever, and this is My memorial unto all
generations” (v. 15)
This was most blessed. Here was indeed something which ought to win the
hearts of the Hebrews when Moses repeated it to them. The God of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was the God of sovereign grace, who had
singled out these men from the mass of fallen humanity, and made them His
high favorites. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was the God of
unconditional promise, who had pledged to give to them and their seed the
land of Canaan for their inheritance. The God of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob, was the covenant-keeping God; for with Abraham God entered into
solemn covenant, and with Isaac and Jacob He confirmed it. Note, also, the
threefold repetition of God — “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob.” Was there not here something more than a hint of
the Holy Trinity!
In the remaining verses of Exodus 3 we learn how God further re-assured
His servant by declaring what should be the results of his mission (see vv.
16-22). And mark once more the positive terms used: “I will bring you up
out of the affliction of Egypt….And they shall hearken to thy voice…. I am
sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go….And I will smite Egypt
with all My wonders…. and I will give this people favor in the sight of the.43
Egyptians.” etc. Everything is definitely determined. There is no possibility
of the Divine purpose failing. There are no contingencies; no ‘I will do my
part, if you do yours’. The Lord has sworn, “My counsel shall stand, and I
will do all My pleasure” (

Isaiah 46:10). Let this be the ground of our
confidence. Though all the powers of evil array themselves against us,
whatever God hath called us to do will issue precisely as He has appointed.
It is true that these promises of God to Moses were not made good in a
day. It is true that there was much in the sequel to severely test the faith of
Moses, ere the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt. And it is also
true that with two exceptions the six hundred thousand men who left Egypt
perished in the wilderness, and thus Moses died without seeing the
complete fulfillment of Israel’s actually reaching the land flowing with milk
and honey — for God’s promises were made to Israel as a nation, not to
any particular generation of that nation. Nevertheless, in the end, every
word of Jehovah was made good. So, too, God may commission us to a
work for Him, and we may die before the determined issue appears; but
notwithstanding, the Divine purpose will be realized.
“And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and
the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto
him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let
us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness,
that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. And I am sure that the
king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand”
(vv. 18, 19).
This presented another test to Moses’ faith. Had he stopped to reason
about the commission God was giving him, it probably would have
appeared foolishness to him. Here was he ordered to go, accompanied by
the elders of Israel, unto Pharaoh, and present to Him the message of
Jehovah. He was to request that the Hebrews should be allowed to go a
three days’ journey into the wilderness that they might worship God. And,
yet, before he starts Jehovah assures him, “I am sure that the king of Egypt
will not let you go.” He might have asked, What, then, is the use of me
wasting my breath on him? But it is not for the servant to question his
master’s orders: it is for him to obey. But not yet was Moses ready to
respond to God’s call..44
“And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe
me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath
not appeared unto thee” (

Were it not that we were acquainted in some measure with our own
desperately-wicked hearts, it would appear to us well-nigh unthinkable that
Moses should continue objecting and caviling. But the remembrance of our
own repeated and humiliating failures only serves to show how sadly true
to life is the picture here presented before us. The Lord had favored His
servant with the awe-inspiring sight of the burning bush, He had spoken of
His tender solicitude for the afflicted Hebrews, He had promised to be with
Moses, He had expressly declared that He would deliver Israel from Egypt
and bring them into Canaan. And yet all of this is not sufficient to silence
unbelief and subdue the rebellious will. Alas! what is man that the Almighty
should be mindful of him! Nothing but Divine power working within us can
ever bring the human heart to abandon all creature props and trust in God.
“And Moses answered and said, But, be-hold, they will not believe me, nor
hearken unto my voice.” Awful presumption was this. The Lord had
emphatically declared, “They shall hearken to thy voice” (3:18), and now
Moses replies, They will not. Here was the servant daring to contradict his
Lord to His face. Fearfully solemn is this; the more so, when we remember
that we are made of precisely the same material that Moses was. There is in
us the same evil, unbelieving, rebellious heart, and our only safeguard is to
cast ourselves in the dust before God, beseeching Him to pity our
helplessness and to keep down, subdue, overcome, the desperate and
incurable wickedness which indwells us.
How what has been before us repudiates the modern sophistry that God
only uses those who are fully consecrated to Him! How often Arminian
teachers insist that the measure of our faith and faithfulness will determine
the measure of our success in the Lord’s service. It is true that every
servant of Christ ought to be “a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for
the Master’s use” (

2 Timothy 2:21), nevertheless, God is not limited by
our failure at this point, and clearly does this come out in the passage
before us. Moses was timid, hesitant, fearful, unbelieving, rebellious, and
yet God used him! Nor does he stand by any means alone in this respect.
God used the mercenary Balaam to give one of the most remarkable
prophecies to be found in the Old Testament. He used a Samson to deliver
Israel from the Philistines. He used a Judas in the apostolate. If God were.45
to wait until He found a human instrument that was worthy or fit to be
used by Him, He would go on waiting until the end of time. God is
sovereign in this, as in everything. The truth is that God uses whom He
Not yet was Moses ready to respond to Jehovah’s Call. There were other
difficulties which the fertile mind of unbelief was ready to suggest, but one
by one Divine power and long-sufferance overcame them. Let us take this
lesson throughly to heart, and seek that grace which will enable us to place
God between us and our difficulties, instead of putting difficulties between
God and us. In our next paper we shall dwell upon the three “signs” which
God gave to Moses; let the interested reader give these much prayerful
meditation as he studies Exodus 4, and thus be prepared to test our

In our last lesson we dwelt upon the response which Moses made to the
call he received from God. After forty years in the backside of the desert he
was visited by the Lord, who declared that it was His purpose to send him
unto Pharaoh (

3:16). Instead of bowing in wonderment and gratitude at
the condescension of the Almighty in deigning to employ him in so
important and honorous an errand, he answered, “Who am I, that I should
go unto Pharaoh?” In response to this God assured Moses that He would
be with him. Moses next inquired in whose name he should address Israel,
and then it was that God revealed Himself as the great “I am”, the God of
Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. The Lord promised that
He would deliver His people from the affliction of Egypt and bring them
unto the land of Canaan, and bade His servant appear before Pharaoh with
the demand that the king allow the Hebrews to go a three days’ journey
into the wilderness that they might hold a feast unto the Lord their God.
But the Lord informed Moses He was sure that Pharaoh would not grant
this request, yet, notwithstanding, He would show forth such wonders that
in the end the king would let them go; and not only so, but that He would
give His people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians so that they would be
enriched and go not out empty-handed. Yet notwithstanding these gracious
re-assurances Moses continued to be occupied with difficulties and to raise
“Behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice; for
they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee” (

Our present lesson resumes the sacred narrative at this point.
In response to the third difficulty raised by Moses, the Lord endued His
recalcitrant servant with the power to perform three wonders or signs,
which were to be wrought before his fellow-countrymen for the purpose of
convincing them that Moses was Jehovah’s accredited ambassador. That.47
there is a deep meaning to these three signs, and that they were designed to
teach important lessons both to Moses, to Israel, and to us, goes without
saying. At the beginning of Israel’s history it was God’s method to teach
more by signs and symbols, than by formal and explicit instruction. The
fact, too, that these three signs are the first recorded in Scripture denotes
that they are of prime importance and worthy of our most careful study.
“And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he
said, A rod. And He said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on
the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by
the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a
rod in his hands: That they may believe that the Lord God of their
fathers. the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob hath appeared unto thee” (

Exodus 4:2-5).
The first of these signs was the turning of the rod into a serpent, and that
back again into a rod. But three verses are devoted to the description of
this wonder, but marvelously full are they in their spiritual suggestiveness
and hidden riches. We purpose to study this miracle from seven different
angles, considering in turn: its practical lessons, its doctrinal meaning, its
evidential value, its evangelical message, its historical significance, its
dispensational forecast, and its typical purport. May the Lord give us eyes
to see and ears to hear.
(1) There can be no doubt that the first design of God in connection with
this sign was to teach Moses himself a practical lesson. What this was it is
not difficult to discover. The sign had to do with the rod in his hand. This
rod or staff (as the Hebrew word is sometimes translated) was his support.
It was that which gave him aid as he walked, it was that on which he
leaned when weary, it was a means of defense in times of danger. Now in
the light of

Psalm 23:4 we learn that, spiritually considered, the “rod”
speaks of the upholding, strengthening, protecting grace of God. Here,
then, is the first lesson the Lord would teach His servant: while Moses
continued dependent (supporting himself) on God, all would be well; but
let him cast his “rod” to the ground, that is, let him renounce God’s grace,
let him cast away his confidence in Jehovah, let him attempt to stand alone,
and he would at once find himself helpless before that old Serpent, the
Devil. Here, then, we say, was the great practical lesson for Moses, and for.48
us: the secret of overcoming Satan lies in Leaning in simple dependency
and conscious weakness on our “staff”, i.e., the power of God!
(2) But this first sign was also designed to teach Moses, and us, a great
doctrinal lesson, a doctrine which as the priority of this sign suggests is
one of fundamental importance. Nor are we left to guess at what this may
be. Just as the twenty-third Psalm enables us to interpret its practical
meaning, so the second Psalm supplies the key to its doctrinal significance.

Psalm 2:9 (cf

Revelation 2:27) we learn that during the
Millennium the Lord Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron. The
“rod”, then, speaks of governmental power. But what is signified by the
“casting down” of the rod to the ground? Surely it speaks of God
delegating governmental power to the rulers of earth. And what has been
the uniform history of man’s use of this delegated power? The answer is,
Exactly what the “serpent” suggests: it has been employed in the service of
Satan! Thus it proved with Adam, when his Maker gave him “dominion”
over all things terrestrial. Thus it proved with the nation of Israel after they
became the conquerors of Canaan. So, too, with Nebuchadnezzar, after
earthly sovereignty was transferred from Jerusalem to Babylon. And so it
has continued all through the Times of the Gentiles. But it is blessed to
note that the “serpent” no more succeeded in getting away from Moses
than the rod had slipped out of his hand. Moses — as God’s representative
before Israel — took the “serpent” by the tail (the time for its head to be
“bruised” had not yet come) and it was transformed into a “rod” in his
hand again. This tells us that Satan is no ‘free agent’ in the popular
acceptation of that term, but is completely under God’s control, to be used
by Him in fulfillment of His inscrutable counsels as He sees fit. Thus would
Jehovah assure His servant at the outset that the enemy who would rage
against him was unable to withstand him!
(3) This sign was to be wrought by Moses before the Hebrews as a proof
that God had called and endowed him to be their deliverer. The evidential
value of this wonder is easily perceived. To see the rod of Moses become a
serpent before their eyes would at once evidence that he was endowed with
supernatural power. To take that serpent by the tail and transform it again
to a rod, would prove that Moses had not performed this miracle by the
help of Satan. Moses was to show that he was able to deal with the serpent
at his pleasure, making the rod a serpent, and the serpent a rod as he saw
fit. Thus in performing a wonder that altogether transcended the skill of.49
man, and a wonder that plainly was not wrought by the aid of the Devil, he
demonstrated that he was commissioned and empowered by God.
(4) This sign which Moses wrought be-fore the children of Israel also
carried an evangelical message, though perhaps this is more difficult to
discern than the other meanings it possessed. The rod cast to the ground
became a “serpent”, and we are told “Moses fled from before it”. Clearly
this speaks of the helplessness of man to cope with Satan. The sinner is
completely under the Devil’s power, “taken captive by him at his will”

2 Timothy 2:26). Such was the condition of Israel at this time. They
were subject to a bondage far worse and more serious than any that the
Egyptians could impose upon them, and what is more, they were as unable
to free themselves from the one as from the other. Nothing but Divine
power could emancipate them, and this is just what this sign was fitted to
teach them. Moreover, this power was placed in the hands of a mediator
— Moses, the one who stood between Israel and God. He, and he only,
was qualified to deliver from the serpent. His power over the serpent was
manifested by taking it by the tail and reducing it to nothing — it
disappeared when it became a rod again. Beautifully does this speak to us
of the Lord Jesus, the One Mediator between God and men, of whom
Moses was a type. In Him is your only hope, dear reader; He alone can
deliver you from the power of that old Serpent, the Devil.
(5) Let us consider next the historical significance of this wonder. The
“sign” itself consisted of three things: a rod held in the hand of Moses
(God’s representative), the rod thrown down to the ground and becoming
a serpent, the serpent transformed into a rod again. These three things
accurately symbolized the early history of Israel. From the Call of
Abraham to the going down of his descendants into Egypt, Israel had been
held (miraculously supported) in the hand of God, until, in the person of
Joseph, they had attained to the position of rule over Egypt. But then a
king arose who “knew not Joseph”, and the Hebrews were then “cast down
to the ground” — humiliated by severe and cruel bondage, until at the time
of Moses it seemed as though they were completely at the mercy of Satan.
But the time for deliverance had now drawn nigh, and the Lord assures
them by means of this “sign” that they should remain in the place of
oppression no longer, but would be delivered. And not only so, the last
part of the sign gave promise that they should be raised to the place of
rulership again. This was realized when they reached the promised land and.50
subjugated the Canaanites. Thus the sign prefigured the three great stages
in the early history of Israel.
(6) But this sign also provided a dispensational forecast. Not only did it
accurately prefigure the early history of Israel, but it also anticipated in a
most striking way the whole of their future history. The rod held in the
hand contemplated them in the position of authority in Canaan. This
portion Judah (the ruling Tribe) retained till Shiloh came. But following
their rejection of Christ the “rod” was cast down to the ground, and for
nineteen centuries Israel have been the prey and sport of the Serpent. But
not forever are they to continue thus. The time is coming when Israel shall
be raised out of the dust of degradation and, in the hand of a greater than
Moses, shall be made the head of the nations (

Deuteronomy 28:13).
Thus did this marvelous sign prefignre both the past and the future fortunes
of the Chosen Nation.
(7) Deeper still lies the typical purport of this sign. We believe that its
ultimate reference was to Christ Himself, and that the great mysteries of
the Divine Incarnation and Atonement were foreshadowed. In

110:2 the Lord Jesus is called the Rod of God: “The Lord shall send the
Rod (it is the same Hebrew word as here in Exodus 4) of Thy strength out
of Zion: rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies”. The reference in Psalm
110 is to the second advent of Christ when His governmental authority and
power shall be fully displayed. But when He was on earth the first time, it
was in weakness and humiliation, and to this the casting-down of the “rod”
on the ground points. But, it will be objected, surely there is no possible
sense in which the Rod became a “serpent”! Yes there was, and none other
than the Lord Jesus is our authority for such a statement. The “serpent” is
inseparably connected with the Curse (Genesis 3), and on the Cross Christ
was “made a curse” for His people (

Galatians 3:10-13). Said He to
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the
Son of Man be lifted up” (

John 3:14).
But blessed be God that is all past: the Lord Jesus (the Rod) is now exalted
to God’s right hand, and soon will He take to Himself His power and reign
over the earth. Marvelously full then was the meaning of this first sign.
Equally striking was the second, though we cannot now treat of it at the
same length..51
“And the Lord said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into
thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took
it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine
hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom
again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and behold, it was turned
again as his other flesh. And it shall come to pass, if they will not
believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they
will believe the voice of the latter sign” (vv. 6-8).
The significance of this second sign is not difficult to discern. “Leprosy” is
the well-known emblem of sin — its loathsomeness, its contagiousness, the
terrible rapidity with which it spreads, its insidious nature (commencing
with a seemingly harmless spot), and its incurability so far as the wisdom of
man is concerned, all witness to the accuracy of the figure. Leviticus 53
and 14 are the two chapters of the Bible where leprosy is treated of at
greatest length. Here in the passage before us we read that Moses put his
hand into his bosom — the abode of the heart — and when he drew it
forth, behold, it was leprous. In response to God’s command he replaced
his hand in his bosom, and on plucking it thence the leprosy had
disappeared. This second “sign” also admits of various applications.
(1) The sign of the leprous hand was, no doubt, designed first for the
instruction of Moses. It was intended to teach him the marvelous power of
his Lord: that he should be thus smitten instantaneously with leprosy, that
it should be confined to his hand, and that it should be cured immediately,
without the use of means, was an astounding wonder. It manifested the
perfect ease with which God could suddenly inflict such a disease and as
quickly cure it: and this evidenced how simple a matter it was for Him to
deliver His people out of the hand of the Egyptians.
(2) The “hand” speaks of energy: it is the instrument for work. Moses was
God’s instrument for doing a wonderful work in Egypt. But the Lord here
shows him that the flesh is set aside; it is not the energy of the natural man
which is the mainspring of action in God’s service. How can it be, when
the flesh is corrupt and under God’s curse? — here symbolized by the hand
becoming leprous. By nature, man’s “hand” is unfit to be used by God. But
Divine grace interposes in cleansing power, and that which is weak
becomes strong; yet in such a way that what, under God, is now
accomplished by that band is manifestly because of the Lord’s power..52
(3) But the principal effect which this sign was calculated to have on
Moses himself was a humbling one. Lest he become puffed up by the
power of the rod, he is forcibly reminded of the sink of iniquity, the corrupt
heart, within him. Therefore whatever Jehovah was pleased to accomplish
by him must be attributed alone to sovereign grace.
(4) Moses is also to be viewed here as the representative of the Hebrews,
for he was one of them, and what was here enacted before his eyes, vividly
portrayed the condition of his people. In themselves they differed nothing
from the Egyptians. They too were defiled and needed cleansing. No mere
outward reformation would avail, for the seat of the trouble lay within their
bosoms. Strikingly accurate were the details of this sign. It was not the
hand which affected the heart, but the heart which affected the hand! How
this disposes of an error which has been popular in every age. How often
we hear it said that such an one may be weak and wayward, but he has a
good heart. Not so: “Out of the heart”, said the One who alone knew it,
“proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false
witness, blasphemies”. So too, cleansing must begin with the heart — here
signified by the leprous hand being thrust into the bosom before the
loathsome disease was removed. And how is this brought about? By the
power of God. True, from the Divine side; but what of the human? The
answer is at once to hand. The leprous heart symbolizes sin hidden, the
leprous hand, sin exposed (F. W. G.) It was the hand plucked out of the
bosom which made manifest what was within! And it is precisely this which
God demands from the sinner. What is so hateful to Him and so fatal to us,
is for the sinner to deny his ruined and lost condition. As long as man seeks
to conceal the iniquity within, as long as he disguises himself and pretends
to be other than a guilty, undone sinner, there is no hope for him. Seeking
to hide their shame was one of the first acts of Adam and Eve after their
fall. All the false religions of human devising have the same object in view.
But to come out into the light, to own our lost condition, to confess our
sins, is the first essential (from the human side) in salvation. This is
evangelical repentance.
(5) Once more we are shown a solemn foreshadowing of that which was
vital and central in the great work of Redemption. Moses here prefigures
the great Deliverer of God’s people. First, Moses is seen as whole, then as
leprous, then whole again. Precisely such is the view which Scripture gives
us of the Savior. Ineffably holy in Himself:.53
He had no sin (

Hebrews 4:15), did no sin (

1 Peter 2:22), knew no
sin (

2 Corinthians 5:21). But in infinite grace He took our place — all
praise to His peerless name — and “was made sin for us” (

2 Corinthians
5:21). “He bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (

1 Peter 2:24).
Because of this He was, at that time, in the sight of God what the leper was
— defiled, unclean; not inherently so, but by imputation. The leper’s place
was outside the Camp (

Leviticus 13:46), away from where God dwelt.
And on the Cross Christ was separated for three terrible hours from the
holy God. But after the awful penalty of sin had been endured and the
work of atonement was finished, the Forsaken One is seen again in
communion with God — “Father into Thy hands I commit My spirit”
evidences that. And it was as “the Holy One” (Psalm 16:10) He was laid in
the sepulcher. Thus, after Moses thrust his leprous hand into his bosom, he
drew it forth again perfectly whole — every trace of defilement gone. In
their foreshadowings of Christ, then, the first sign intimated that the great
Deliverer would “destroy the works of the Devil” (

1 John 3:8), while
the second signified that He would “take away our sins” (

1 John 3:5).
“And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two
signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the
water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water
which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry
land” (v. 9).
Upon this verse Dr. Urquhart has some helpful comments:
“The Nile was Egypt’s life. Its waters, in the annual inundation,
pouring over its banks and spreading the fertilizing mud over the
ground, prepared the way for the harvest. But the sign shows that
God could turn that blessing into a fearful scourge. Instead of life
he might make the river bring forth death: instead of fruitfulness,
corruption. The unusual form (in the Heb.) ‘shall be and shall be’,
conveys the strong and solemn assurance that this means of
blessing shall certainly be turned into a vehicle of judgment — a
threatening which was afterwards fulfilled in the first two plagues.”
“And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two
signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the
water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water
which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry
land” (v. 9)..54
This third “sign” is unspeakably solemn. Its position in the series supplies
the key to its interpretation. This third sign was to be wrought only if the
testimony of the first two was refused. It therefore tells of the
consequences of refusing to believe what the other signs so plainly bore
witness to. If man rejects the testimony of God’s Word that he is under the
dominion of Satan and is depraved by nature, and refuses the One who
alone can deliver from the one and cleanse from the other, nothing but
Divine judgment awaits him. The water turned into blood speaks of life
giving place to death. It anticipates “the second death”, that eternal death,
“The Lake of Fire”, which awaits every Christ rejector. Be warned then,
unsaved reader, and flee to Christ for refuge ere the storm of Divine wrath
overtakes thee. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”..55

Our present lesson deals with the concluding stage of the Lord’s interview
with Moses, and of the deliverer starting forth on his mighty errand. It is
important to note that Moses was the first man that was ever formally
called of God to engage in His service, and like the first notice of anything
in Scripture this hints at all that is fundamental in connection with the
subject. First, we are shown that no training of the natural man is of any
avail in the work of God. Neither the wisdom of Egypt, in which Moses
was thoroughly skilled, nor the solitude of the desert, had fitted Moses for
spiritual activities. Forty years had been spent in Egypt’s court, and
another forty years in Midian’s sheepfolds; yet, when the Lord appeared to
him, Moses was full of unbelief and self-will. How this shows that the
quietude of monastic life is as impotent to destroy the enmity of the carnal
mind as is the culture of high society or the instruction of the schools. It is
true that Moses had been much sobered by his lengthy sojourn at “the
backside of the desert”, but in faith, in courage, in the spirit of obedience,
he was greatly deficient — grace, not nature, must supply these.
In the second place, we are shown how the Lord prepared His servant.
God dealt personally and directly with the one He was going to honor as
His ambassador: there was a manifestation of His holiness, the avowal of
His covenant-relationship, an assurance of His compassion for the suffering
Hebrews, and the declaration of His self-sufficiency as the great “I am”; in
short, there was a full revelation of His person and character. In addition,
Moses received a definite call from Jehovah, the guarantee that God would
be with him, an intimation of the difficulties that lay before him, and the
promise that, in the end, God’s purpose should be realized. These have
ever been, and still are, the vital prerequisites for effectiveness in God’s
service. There must be a personal knowledge of God for ourselves: a
knowledge obtained by direct revelation of God to the soul. There must be
a definite call from God to warrant us engaging in His service. There must.56
be a recognition of the difficulties confronting us and a confident resting on
God’s promise for ultimate success.
In the third place, the Lord endowed His servant for the work before him.
This endowment was the bestowal upon him of power to work three
miracles. The first two of these were designed to teach important lessons
to God’s servant: he was shown the secret of overcoming Satan, and he
was reminded of the corruption of his own heart — things of vital moment
for every servant to understand. Moreover, these miracles or signs bad a
voice for the Hebrews: they showed them their need of being delivered
from the dominion of the Devil and the pollution of sin — things which
every servant must continue pressing on those to whom he ministers. The
third miracle or sign spoke of the judgment awaiting those who received
not God’s testimonies — another thing which the faithful servant must not
shun to declare.
In the fourth place, we are made acquainted with the response which
Moses made to God’s call. Here again we have something more than what
is local and transient. The difficulties felt by Moses and the objections
which he raised are those which have, in principle and essence, been felt
and raised by all of God’s servants at some time or other — the perfect
Servant alone excepted. If they have not been expressed by lip, they have
had a place in the heart. The first three objections of Moses we have
noticed in previous papers: they may be summed up as: self-occupation

3:11), fear (

3:13), unbelief (

4:1). The fourth, which savored of
pride, will now engage our attention.
“And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent,
neither heretofore, nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant:
but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” (

How many of the Lord’s servants (and others who ought to be engaged in
His service) regard this as a fatal defect. They suppose that the gift of
oratory is a prime pre-requisite for effective ministry. Those who are being
“trained for the ministry” must, forsooth, have a course in rhetoric and
elocution: as though men dead in sins can be quickened by the enticing
words of men’s wisdom; as though carnal weapons could have a place in
spiritual warfare. Sad it is that such elementary matters are so little
understood in this twentieth century. Have we forgotten those words of the
apostle Paul,.57
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of
speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God”

1 Corinthians 2:1)!
“And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or
who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have
not I the Lord?” (v. 11).
This was manifestly a rebuke. Even though he was not “eloquent”, did
Moses suppose that the Lord knew not what He was about in selecting him
to act as His mouthpiece in Pharaoh’s court? God was only demonstrating
once more how radically different are His ways from man’s. The wisdom
of this world is foolishness with God (

1 Corinthians 3:19), and that
which is highly esteemed among men, is abomination in His sight (

16:15). The instrument through whom God did the most for Israel, and the
one He used in bringing the greatest blessing to the Gentiles, was each
unqualified when judged by the standards of human scholarship! — see

2 Corinthians 10:1 and 11:6 for the apostle Paul as a speaker.
“And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who
maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the
Lord?”. It seems evident from this that, in the previous verse, Moses was
referring to some impediment in his speech. In reply, the Lord tells him that
He was responsible for that. The force of what Jehovah said here seems to
be this: As all the physical senses, and the perfection of them, are from the
Creator, so are the imperfections of them according to His sovereign
pleasure. Behind the law of heredity is the Law-giver, regulating it as He
deems best.
“Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee
what thou shalt say” (v. 12).
What a re-assuring word was this ! Better far, infinitely better, is the
teaching of the Lord and His control of the tongue than any gift of
“eloquence” or any of the artificialities of speech which human training can
bestow. It is Just these substitutes of human art which has degraded too
many of our pulpits from places where should be heard the simple
exposition of God’s Word into stages on which men display their oratorical
abilities. Little room for wonder that God’s blessing has long since
departed from the vast majority of our pulpits when we stop to examine
the “training” which the men who occupy them have received. All the.58
schooling in the world is of no avail whatever unless the Lord is “with the
mouth” of the preacher, teaching him what he shall say; and if the Lord is
with him, then, “eloquence and rhetorical devices are needless and useless.
Note it is “what” the preacher has to say, not how he says it, which matters
most. God has used the simple language of unlettered Bunyan far more
than He has the polished writings of thousands of University graduates!
“And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray Thee, by the hand of him
whom Thou wilt send” (v. 13).
That is, Send any one, but not me! Moses was still unwilling to act as the
Lord’s ambassador, in fact he now asked God to select another in his
place. How fearful are the lengths to which the desperately-wicked heart of
man may go! Not only distrustful, but rebellious. The faithfulness of Moses
in recording his own sins, and the “anger” of the Lord against him, is a
striking proof of the Divine veracity of the Scriptures: an uninspired writer
would have omitted such serious reflections upon himself as these.
“And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray Thee, by the hand of him
whom Thou wilt send. And the anger of the Lord was kindled
against Moses, and He said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I
know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to
meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. And
thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will
be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye
shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he
shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt
be to him instead of God. And thou shalt take this rod in thine
hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs” (vv. 13-17).
“Although there was nothing gained in the way of power, although there
was no more virtue or efficacy in one mouth than in another, although it
was Moses after all who was to speak unto Aaron, yet was Moses quite
ready to go when assured of the presence and co-operation of a poor
feeble mortal like himself; whereas he could not go when assured, again
and again, that Jehovah would be with him.
“Oh! my reader, does not all this hold up before us a faithful mirror
in which you and I can see our hearts reflected? Truly it does. We
are more ready to trust anything than the living God. We move
along with bold decision when we possess the countenance and.59
support of a poor frail mortal like ourselves; but we falter, hesitate,
and demur when we have the light of the Master’s countenance to
cheer us, and the strength of His omnipotent arm to support us.
This should humble us deeply before the Lord, and lead us to seek
a fuller acquaintance with Him, so that we might trust Him with a
more unmixed confidence, and walk on with a firmer step, as
having Him alone for our resource and portion” (C.H.M.).
Though God’s anger was kindled against Moses, His wrath was tempered
by mercy. To strengthen his weak faith, the Lord grants him still another
sign that He would give him success. As Moses returned to Egypt he
would find Aaron coming forth to meet him. What an illustration is this
that when God works, He works at both ends of the line! The eunuch and
Philip, Saul and Ananias, Cornelius and Peter supply us with further
illustrations of the same principle.
“And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said
unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren
which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro
said to Moses, Go in peace” (v. 18).
This act of Moses was very commendable. Jethro had taken him in while a
fugitive from Egypt, had given him his daughter to wife, and had provided
him with a home for forty years. Moreover, Moses had charge of his flock

3:1). It would, then, have been grossly discourteous and the height of
ingratitude had Moses gone down to Egypt without first notifying his
father-in-law. This request of Moses manifested his thoughtfulness of
others, and his appreciation of favors received. Let writer and reader take
this to heart. Spiritual activities never absolve us from the common
amenities and responsibilities of life. No believer who is not a gentleman or
a lady is a true Christian in the full sense of the word. To be a Christian is
to practice Christliness, and Christ ever thought of others.
“And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto
him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in
Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive”. We are sorry that we cannot
speak so favorably of Moses’ words on this occasion. His utterance here
was quite Jacob-like. Moses says nothing about the Lord’s appearing to
him, of the communication he had received, nor of the positive assurance
from God that He would bring His people out of Egypt into Canaan.
Evidently Moses was yet far from being convinced. This is clear from the.60
next verse: “And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into
Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life”. The Lord repeated
His command, and at the same time graciously removed the fears of His
servant that he was venturing himself into that very peril from which he had
fled forty years before. How long-suffering and compassionate is our God!
“And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass,
and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of
God in his hand…. and it came to pass by the way in the inn, that
the Lord met him, and sought to kill him” (vv. 20, 24).
At last Moses starts out on his epoch-making mission. In obedience to
God’s command he goes forth rod in hand, and accompanied by his wife
and his sons, returns to the land of Egypt. But one other thing needed to be
attended to, an important matter long neglected, before he is ready to act
as God’s ambassador. Jehovah was about to fulfill His covenant
engagement to Abraham, but the sign of that covenant was circumcision,
and this the son of Moses had not received, apparently because of the
objections of the mother. Such an ignoring of the Divine requirements
could not be passed by, and Moses is forcibly reminded anew of the
holiness of the One with whom he had to do.
“And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him,
and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut
off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a
bloody husband art thou to me. So He let him go: then she said, A
bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision” (vv. 24-26).
Whether it was the Lord Himself in theophanic manifestation who now
appeared to Moses, or whether it was an angel of the Lord with sword in
hand, as he later stood before Balaam, we are not told. Nor do we know in
what way the Lord sought to kill Moses. It seems clear that he was
stricken down and rendered helpless, for his wife was the one who
performed the act of circumcision on their son. This is all the more striking
because the inference seems inescapable that Zipporah was the one who
had resisted the ordinance of God — only thus can we explain her words
to Moses, and only thus can we account for Moses here sending her back
to her father (cf.

18:2). Nevertheless, it was Moses, the head of the
house (the one God ever holds primarily responsible for the training and
conduct of the children), and not Zipporah, whom the Lord sought to kill.
This points a most solemn warning to Christian fathers today. A man may.61
be united to a woman who opposes him at every step as he desires to
maintain a scriptural discipline in his home, but this does not absolve him
from doing his duty.
Let us also observe how the above incident teaches us another most
important lesson in connection with service. Before God suffered Moses to
go and minister to Israel, He first required him to set his own house in
order. Not until this had been attended to was Moses qualified for his
mission. There must be faithfulness in the sphere of his own responsibility
before God would make him the channel of Divine power. As another has
said, “Obedience at home must precede the display of power to the world”.
That this same principle obtains during the Christian dispensation is clear
from Timothy 3, where we are told that among the various qualifications of
a “bishop” (elder) is that he must be “one that ruleth his own house well,
having his children in subjection with all gravity” (v. 14). As a general rule
God refuses to use in public ministry one who is lax and lawless in his own
“And the Lord said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet
Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed
him. And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent
him, and all the signs which He had commanded him” (vv. 27, 28).
This is another example of how when God works, He works at both ends
of the line: Moses was advancing toward Egypt, Aaron is sent to meet him.
By comparing this verse with what is said in verse 14 it seems clear that the
Lord had ordered Aaron to go into the wilderness before Moses actually
started out for Egypt, for there we find Him saying to Moses, “Behold, he
(Aaron) cometh forth to meet thee”. What an encouragement was this for
Moses. Oft times the Lord in His tenderness gives such encouragements to
His servants, especially in their earlier days; thus did He to Eliezer

Genesis 24:14, 18, 19) to Joseph (

Genesis 37:7, 8); to the disciples

Mark 14:13); to Paul (

Acts 9:11, 12); to Peter (

Acts 10:17).
It is a point of interest and importance to note the meeting-place of these
brothers: it was “in the mount of God”. There it was that Jehovah had first
appeared to Moses (

3:1), and from it Moses and Aaron now set forth
on their momentous errand. The “mount” speaks, of course, of elevation,
elevation of spirit through communion with the Most High. An essential
prerequisite is this for all effective ministry. It is only as the servant has
been in “the mount with God that he is ready to go forth and represent Him.62
in the plains! Again and again was this illustrated in the life of the perfect
Servant. Turn to the four Gospels, and note how frequently we are told
there of Christ retiring to “the mount’, from which He came forth later to
minister to the needy. This is indeed a lesson which every servant needs to
learn. I must first commune with God, before I am fitted to work for Him.
Note this order in

Mark 3:14 in connection with the apostles: He
ordained twelve that they should be with Him, and that He might send
them forth to preach”!
“And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of
the children of Israel: And Aaron spake all the words which the
Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the
people. And the people believed: and when they heard that the
Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that He had looked
upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped”
(vv. 29-31).
The “elders” are always to be viewed as the representatives of the people:
they were the heads of the tribes and of the leading families. Unto them
Aaron recited all that Jehovah had said unto Moses, and Moses performed
the two signs. The result was precisely as God had fore-announced

3:18). Moses had said, “They will not believe me” (

4:1); the Lord
had declared they would, and so it came to pass. They believed that Moses
was sent of God, and that he would be their deliverer. Believing this, they
bowed their heads and worshipped, adoring the goodness of God, and
expressing their thankfulness for the notice which He took of them in their
In the favorable response which Moses received from the elders of Israel
we may discern once more the tender mercy and grace of the Lord. At a
later stage, the leaders came before Moses and Aaron complaining they had
made the lot of the people worse rather than better. But here, on their first
entrance into Egypt, the Lord inclined the hearts of the people to believe.
Thus He did not put too great a strain upon their faith at first, nor lay upon
them a burden greater than what they were able to bear. It is usually thus in
the Lord’s dealings with His servants. The real trials are kept back until we
have become accustomed to the yoke. We heartily commend this fourth
chapter of Exodus to every minister of God, for it abounds in important
lessons which each servant of His needs to take to heart..63

“And afterward Moses and Aaron went In, and told Pharaoh, Thus
saith the Lord God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold
a feast unto Me in the wilderness” (

Let us endeavor to place ourselves in the position occupied by these two
ambassadors of the Lord. Moses and Aaron were now required to confront
Pharaoh in person. His temper toward their race was well known, his
heartless cruelty had been frequently displayed; it was, therefore, no small
trial of their faith and courage to beard the lion in his den. The character of
the message they were to deliver to him was not calculated to pacify. They
were to tell him in peremptory language that the Lord God required him to
let that people whom he held in slavery go, and hold a feast unto Jehovah
in the wilderness. Moreover, the Lard had already told His servants that He
would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not let the people go.
Notwithstanding these discouraging features, Moses and Aaron “went in
and told Pharaoh”. A striking example was this of God’s power to
overcome the opposition of the flesh, to impart grace to the trembling
heart, and to demonstrate that our strength is made perfect in weakness.
“And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith
the Lord God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto
Me in the wilderness”. Careful attention should be paid to the terms of this
request or demand upon Pharaoh. Jehovah had already promised Moses
that he and his people should worship God on Mount Sinai (

3:12), and
that was much more than a three days’ journey from Egypt — compare



15:22 and

19:1; yea, He had declared that He
would bring them “unto Canaan” (

3:8). Why, then, did not Moses tell
Pharaoh plainly that he must relinquish all claim on the Hebrews, and give
permission for them to leave his land for good? Mr. Urquhart has ably
answered this difficult question:.64
“God is entering upon a controversy with Pharaoh and with Egypt.
He is about to judge them; and, in order that they may be judged,
they must first be revealed to themselves and to all men. Had they
been asked to suffer the Israelites to depart from Egypt, so large a
demand might have seemed to others, and certainly would have
appeared to the Egyptians themselves, as so unreasonable as to
justify their refusal. A request is made, therefore, against which no
charge of the kind can be brought. A three days’ journey into the
wilderness need not have taken the Israelites much beyond the
Egyptian frontier. It was also perfectly reasonable, even to heathen
notions, that they should be permitted to worship their God after
the accepted manner. The heart of Pharaoh and of his people was,
therefore, revealed in their scornful refusal of a perfectly reasonable
request. In this way they committed themselves to what was
manifestly unjust; and in proceeding against them God was
consequently justified even in their own eyes. Conscience was
stirred. Egypt knew itself to be in the wrong; and a pathway was
made there for return to the living God — the God of the
conscience — for all who desired to be at peace with Him whom
they had offended.
“Has God ever judged a people whom He has not first dealt with in
that very way? National judgments have been preceded by some
outstanding transgression in which the heart of the nation has been
manifested. Carlyle traces the fearful blow which fell upon the
clergy and the aristocracy in the French Revolution to the massacre
of St. Bartholomew. France had sought to crush the Reformation
as Egypt had sought to crush Israel. Spain dug the grave for her
greatness and her fame in the establishment of her Inquisition, and
in her relentless wars against a people who desired to remove from
the Church what were glaring, and largely confessed scandals.
“But we have to go farther to find the full explanation of that
request. The demand was indeed limited. It was seemingly a small
matter that was asked for. But what was asked for set forth and
inscribed in flaming characters Israel’s mission. This conflict was to
be waged on ground chosen by the Almighty. The battle was not
one merely for Israel’s deliverance from bitter bondage. It was not
fought and won solely that Israel might be able to go forth and
possess the land promised to her fathers. The one purpose, to.65
which every other was subsidiary and contributory, was that Israel
should dwell in God’s Tabernacle. She was redeemed to be His
people. Her one mission was and is to serve Jehovah. No other
demand would have adequately stated the claim that God was now
making and urging in the face of humanity. No other could have so
set forth God’s claim as against the claim of Pharaoh. Pharaoh said:
‘The people is mine; I will not let them go.’ God said: ‘The people
is Mine; thou must let them go; they have been created and chosen
that they may serve Me’. The conflict was being waged over the
destiny of a race, its place in history and in the service of humanity.
Was Israel to be slave, or priest? Egypt’s beast of burden, or the
anointed of Jehovah? That was the question; and was it possible
that God could have done other than put that question, written
large and clear, in the forefront of this great controversy?
“And let me add that the demand was prophetic. Israel is in this
matter also the type of God’s people. When Christianity began its
conflict with the Roman Empire, what was the one question over
which the great debate proceeded? We all know now what God
intended. The nations were to abandon their idols so that their very
names, as the household words of the peoples, were to perish. But
no demand was made by the Christian Church that the temples
should be closed, and that the heathen priesthoods should be
abolished. One thing only was asked, and that apparently one of the
slightest. It was freedom to worship the living God — the very
demand made for Israel in Egypt. Over that the battle raged for
centuries. The triumph came when that was won. It was not for any
claim the Christians made to direct the worship of the Roman
Empire: it was not for their rights as citizens: it was for liberty to
worship God in accordance with His demand. That claim kept
them, and when the triumph came it consecrated them, as the
people of God” (The Bible: Its Structure and Purpose: Vol. IV).
“And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith
the Lord God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto
Me in the wilderness”. So far as Pharaoh was concerned, this was God
addressing his responsibility, giving him opportunity for obedience,
speaking to him in grace. Not yet does He launch His judgments on the
haughty king and his subjects. Before He dealt in wrath, He acted in mercy.
This is ever His way. He sent forth Noah as a preacher of righteousness.66
and Enoch as a herald of the coming storm, before the Flood descended
upon the antediluvians. He sent forth one prophet after another unto Israel,
before He banished them into captivity. And later, He sent forth His own
Son, followed by the apostles, before His army destroyed Jerusalem in
A.D. 70. So it is with the world today. God is now dealing in grace and
long-sufferance, sending forth His servants far and wide, bidding men flee
from the wrath to come. But this Day of Salvation is rapidly drawing to a
close, and once the Lord rises from His place at God’s right hand, the door
of mercy will be shut, and the storm of God’s righteous anger will burst.
“And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice
to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go”
(v. 2).
Here then was Pharaoh’s response to the overtures of God’s grace.
Unacquainted with God for himself, he defiantly refuses to bow to His
mandate. The character of Egypt’s king stood fully revealed: “I know not
the Lord, neither will I let Israel go”. Precisely such is the reply made (if
not in word, plainly expressed by their attitude) by many of those who hear
God’s authoritative fiat, “Repent! Believe!”, through His servants today.
First and foremost the Gospel is not an invitation, but a declaration of
what God demands from the sinner — “God now commandeth all men
everywhere to repent” (

Acts 17:30);
“And this is His commandment, that we should believe on the name
of His Son, Jesus Christ” (

1 John 3:3).
But the response of the unbelieving and rebellious heart of the natural man
is “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?”. Thus speaks the pride
of the man who hardens his neck against the Blessed God. “I know Him
not” said Pharaoh, and “I know Him not” expresses the heart of the sinner
today; and what makes it so dreadful is, he desires not to correct this
ignorance. For these two things God will yet take vengeance when Christ
returns. He will be revealed
“in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and
that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (

Thessalonians 1:8).
“And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us
go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice.67
unto the Lord our God; lest He fall upon us with pestilence, or with
the sword” (v. 3).
By comparing these words of Moses with his first utterance to Pharaoh a
number of interesting and important points will be seen the more clearly.
First, the demand of Jehovah was, “Let My people go, that they may hold
a feast unto Me in the wilderness” (v. 1). This speaks from the Divine side.
The request of Moses was, “Let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey
into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God”. This speaks from the
human side. The one tells of what God’s heart sought, the other of what
man’s sin needed. The “feast” points to rejoicing, the “sacrifice” to what
makes rejoicing possible. In the second place, observe the ground upon
which Moses here bases the Hebrews’ need of a “sacrifice” — “lest He fall
upon us with pestilence, or with the sword”. It is impossible to evade the
plain implication of this language. Israel were confessedly guilty, and
therefore deserving of punishment, and the only way of escape was
through an atonement being made for them. God must be placated: blood
must be shed: the Divine justice must be propitiated. Only thus could God
be reconciled to them. Finally, observe a “three days’ journey” was
necessary before the Hebrews could sacrifice to Jehovah. Profoundly
significant is this in its typical suggestiveness. “Three days” speaks of the
interval between death and resurrection. It is only on resurrection-ground,
as made alive from the dead, that we can hold a feast unto the Lord!
“And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses
and Aaron, let (hinder) the people from their works? get you unto
your burdens. And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land
now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens”
(vv. 4, 5).
It seems clear from this that Pharaoh had already heard of the conference
which Moses and Aaron had held with the “elders” of Israel, and knew of
the signs which had been wrought before them. These had created, no
doubt, a considerable stir among the rank and the of the Hebrews, and
instead of going about their regular drudgery they had, apparently,
expected the Lord to act on their behalf without delay. This, we take it, is
what Pharaoh had in mind when he charged Moses and Aaron with
hindering the people from their work. When he added “Get you unto your
burdens” he referred to the whole of the people, the representatives of.68
whom had accompanied God’s two servants into the king’s presence (cf.
“And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the
people, and their officers, saying, Ye shall no more give the people
straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for
themselves. And the tale of the bricks, which they did make
heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought
thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and
sacrifice to our God. Let there more work be laid upon the men,
that they may labor therein; and let them not regard vain words”
(vv. 6-9).
This is ever the effect of rejecting God’s testimony. To resist the light
means increased darkness: to turn from the truth is to become more
thoroughly than ever under the power of him who is the arch-liar. The
same sun which melts the wax hardens the clay. Instead of allowing the
Hebrews to go and sacrifice to Jehovah, Pharaoh orders that their lot shall
be made harder. So it is with the sinner who disobeys the Gospel
command. The one who refuses to repent becomes more impenitent, more
defiant, more lawless, until (with rare exceptions) the Lord abandons him
to his own ways and leaves him to suffer the due reward of his iniquities.
The unbelief of Pharaoh comes out plainly here: “Let there more work be
laid upon the men, that they may labor therein; and let them not regard
vain words”. Where God Himself is unknown His words are but idle tales.
To talk of sacrificing unto Him is meaningless to the man of the world.
Such are the Holy Scriptures to the sinner today. The Bible tells man that
he is a fallen creature, unprepared to die, unfit for the presence of a holy
God. The Bible tells him of the wondrous provision of God’s grace, and
presents a Savior all-sufficient for his acceptance The Bible warns him
faithfully of the solemn issues at stake, and asks him how he shall escape if
he neglects so great salvation. The Bible tells him plainly that he that
believeth not shall be damned, and that whosoever’s name is not found
written in the book of life shall be cast into the Lake of Fire. But these
solemn verities are but “vain words” to the skeptical heart of the natural
man. He refuses to receive them as a message from the living God
addressed to his own soul. But let him beware. Let him be warned by the
awful case of Pharaoh. If he continues in his unbelief and obstinacy,
Pharaoh’s fate shall be his — God will surely bring him into judgment..69
“And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and
they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give
you straw. Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not ought
of your work shall be diminished. So the people were scattered
abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of
straw. And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfill your works,
and your daily tasks, as when there was straw. And the officers of
the children of Israel which Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over
them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled
your task in making brick both yesterday and today, as heretofore?”
(vv. 10-14).
The severe measures which Pharaoh ordered to be taken upon the Hebrews
illustrate the malignant efforts of Satan against the soul that God’s grace is
dealing with. When the Devil recognizes the first advances of the Holy
Spirit toward a poor sinner he at once puts forth every effort to retain his
victims. At no place is the frightful malevolence of the Fiend more plainly
to be seen than here. No pains are spared by him to hinder the deliverance
of his slaves. Satan never gives up his prey without a fierce struggle. When
a soul is convicted of sin, and brought to long after liberty and peace with
God, the Devil will endeavor, just as Pharaoh did with the Israelites, by
increased occupation with material things, to expel all such desires from his
A solemn example of what we have in mind is recorded in

Luke 9:42:
“And as he was yet a coming, the demon threw him down,
and tare him”.
This obsessed youth was coming to Christ, and while on the way, Satan’s
emissary sought to rend him to pieces. So long as a person has no desire
after Christ the Devil will leave him alone, but once a soul is awakened to
his need of a Savior and begins to seriously seek Him, Satan will put forth
every effort to hinder him. This is why so many convicted souls find that
their case gets worse before It is bettered. So it was here with the
Hebrews. Just as hope was awakened, the opposition against them became
stronger: just when deliverance seemed nigh, their oppression was
“Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto
Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants?.70
There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make
bricks: and, behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault is in thine
own people” (vv. 15, 16).
How true to human nature is this! Instead of crying unto the Lord these
leaders of the Israelites turned unto Pharaoh for relief. Doubtless they
hoped to appeal to his pity or to his sense of justice. Surely they could
show him that his demands were unreasonable and impossible of
fulfillment. Alas, the natural man ever prefers to lean upon an arm of flesh
than be supported by Him who is invisible. Just so is it with the convicted
sinner: he turns for help to the evangelist, his pastor, his Sunday School
teacher, his parents, any one rather than the Lord Himself. God is generally
our last resource! Deeply humbling is this! And amazing is the grace which
bears with such waywardness. Grace not only has to begin the work of
salvation, it also has to continue and complete it. It is all of grace from first
to last.
“But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go
and do sacrifice to the Lord. Go therefore now, and work; for there
shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks”
(vv. 17, 18).
Little good did it do Israel’s “officers” in appealing to Pharaoh. He, like the
master of the poor sinner, was absolutely pitiless and inflexible. Probably
these officers supposed that the brutal “taskmasters” had acted without the
king’s knowledge. If so, they were quickly disillusioned. Instead of
expressing indignation at the taskmasters, and relieving the officers of the
people, Pharaoh insulted them, charging them with sloth and duplicity,
arguing that it was not so much the honor of God they regarded, as that
they might escape from their work. So, too, the awakened sinner
accomplishes little good by turning to human counselors for relief. When
the prodigal son began to be in want he went and joined himself to a citizen
of the far country, but being sent into the fields to feed swine was all he got
for his pains (

Luke 15:15). The poor woman mentioned in the Gospels
“suffered many things of many physicians”, and though she spent all that
she had, she was “nothing bettered, but rather grew worse” (

5:26). O unsaved reader, if a work of grace has already begun in your heart
so that you realize your wretchedness and long for that peace and rest
which this poor world is unable to give, fix it firmly in your mind that One
only can give you what you seek. Allow no priest — either Roman.71
Catholic or Protestant — to come in between you and Christ. Cease ye
from man, and “seek ye the Lord while He may be found”.
“And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in
evil case, after it was said, Ye shall not minish ought from your
bricks of your daily task. And they met Moses and Aaron, who
stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: And they said
unto them, The Lord look upon you, and judge; because ye have
made our savor to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the
eyes of His servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us” (vv.
Poor Moses! His troubles now were only commencing. He had been
prepared for the rebuff which he had himself received from Pharaoh, for
the Lord had said plainly that He would harden the king’s heart. But, so far
as the inspired record informs us, nothing had been told him that he would
meet with discouragement and opposition from his own brethren. A real
testing was this for God’s servant, for it is far more trying to be criticized
by our own brethren, by those whom we are anxious to help, than it is to
be persecuted by the world. But sufficient for the servant to be as his
master. The Lord Himself was hated by his own brethren according to the
flesh, and the very ones to whom He had ministered in ceaseless grace
unanimously cried “Crucify Him”.
“And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Lord, wherefore
hast Thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that Thou hast
sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Thy name, he
hath done evil to this people; neither hast Thou delivered Thy
people at all” (vv. 22, 23).
Moses did well in turning to the Lord in the hour of trial, but it was most
unseemly and irreverent of him to speak in the way that he did — alas that
we, in our petulant unbelief, are so often guilty of asking similar questions.
It is not for the servant to take it upon him to dictate to his master, far less
is it for a worm of the earth to dispute with the Almighty. These things are
recorded faithfully for “our admonition”. There was no need for Jehovah to
hurry. His delay in delivering Israel and His permitting them to endure still
greater afflictions accomplished many ends. It furnished fuller opportunity
for Pharaoh to manifest the desperate wickedness of the human heart. It
gave occasion for the Lord to demonstrate how that He “bears with much
long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction”. It served to show.72
more clearly how righteous God was in visiting Pharaoh and his subjects
with sore judgment. And, too, Israel needed to be humbled: they also were
a stiff-necked people, as is clear from the words of their leaders to Moses
and Aaron on this occasion. Moreover, the more they were afflicted the
more would they appreciate the Lord’s deliverance when His time came.
Let, then, the writer and reader take this to heart: the Lord always has a
good reason for each of His delays. Therefore, let us recognize the folly,
yea, the wickedness of murmuring at His seeming tardiness. Let us daily
seek grace to “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him”.
We may add that what has been before us supplies a striking picture of that
which awaits Israel in a coming day. The grievous afflictions which came
upon the Hebrews in Egypt just before the Lord emancipated them from
their hard and cruel bondage, did but foreshadow the awful experiences
through which their descendants shall pass during the “time of Jacob’s
trouble”, just prior to the coming of the Deliverer to Zion. Pharaoh’s
conduct as described in our chapter — his defiance of Jehovah, his
rejection of the testimony of God’s two witnesses, his cruel treatment of
the children of Israel — accurately typifies the course which will be
followed by the Man of Sin. Thus may we discern once more how that
these pages of Old Testament history are also prophetic in their
forecastings of coming events. May it please the Lord to open our eyes so
that we may perceive both the application to ourselves and those who are
to follow us..73

Our previous chapter closed with Moses turning unto the Lord in most
unbecoming petulancy and daring to call into question the Divine
dispensations. The Lord’s servant had been severely tried: he had gone in
unto Pharaoh and demanded him to let the Hebrews go so that they might
sacrifice unto their God. But not only had the haughty king refused this
most reasonable request, he had also given orders that his slaves should
have additional burdens laid upon them. The officers of the children of
Israel had interviewed Pharaoh, but had been mocked for their pains. They
then sought out Moses and Aaron and called down a curse upon them, for
this we take it is the force of their words,
“The Lord look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our
savor to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh” (

Moses then “returned unto the Lord” and poured out his heart before Him.
The reference seems to be to the fact that he had committed his way unto
the Lord before he had interviewed the king, and now after his seeming
failure, he turns again to the throne of grace.
The discouragements which Moses had met with were more than flesh
could stand, and he asks Jehovah, “Wherefore hast Thou so evil entreated
this people? and why is it that Thou hast sent me?”, ending by saying “For
since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Thy name, he hath done evil to this
people; neither hast Thou delivered Thy people at all.” Moses was right in
tracing the afflictions which had come upon the Hebrews to God Himself,
for all things are “of Him and through Him” (

Romans 11:36) ; but He
certainly did wrong in questioning the Almighty and in murmuring against
the outworking of His counsels. But it is written, “He knoweth our frame;
He remembereth that we are dust”, and again,
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in
mercy” (

Psalm 103:14, 8)..74
Fully was that manifested on this occasion. Instead of chastising His
servant, the Lord encouraged him; instead of setting him aside, He
renewed his commission; instead of slaying him. He revealed Himself in all
His grace.
“Then the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do
to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a
strong hand shall he drive them out of his land” (v. 1).
The Lord made no answer to Moses’ impatient queries but re-affirmed His
immutable purpose. The defiant Pharaoh might insist I will not let Israel go

5:2), but the Most High declared that he should, nay, that he would
even drive them out of his land. There was no need for Moses to be
alarmed or even discouraged: the counsel of God would stand, and He
would do all His pleasure (

Isaiah 46:50). This is a sure resting-place for
the heart of every servant, and for every Christian too. No matter how
much the Enemy may roar and rage against us, he is quite unable to thwart
the Almighty —
“There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the
Lord” (

Proverbs 25:30).
This is the high ground that the Lord first took in encouraging the
drooping heart of His despondent servant. Said He, ‘With a strong hand
shall he (Pharaoh) let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them
out of the land”. There were no “ifs” or “perhaps” about it. The event was
absolutely certain, and therefore invincibly necessary, because Deity had
eternally decreed it. Similar is the assurance God gives His servants today:
“So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth. It shall
not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I
please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it”

Isaiah 55:11).
It is also to be noted that in strengthening the heart of His servant the Lord
pointed Moses forward to the goal — “Now shalt thou see what I will do
to Pharaoh”. There was much that was to happen in between, but the Lord
passes over all that would intervene, and speaks of the last act in the great
drama which was just opening. He bids Moses consider the successful
outcome, when the great enemy of His people should be vanquished. There
is much for us to learn in this. We defeat ourselves by being occupied with
the difficulties of the way. God has made known to us the triumphant.75
outcome of good over evil, and instead of being harassed by the fiery darts
which the Evil One now hurls against us, we ought to rest on the assuring
promise that
“the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly”

Romans 16:20).
“And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord:
And I appeared unto Abraham, and unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by
the name of God Almighty, but by My name JEHOVAH was I not
known to them” (vv. 2, 3).
These verses have been a sore puzzle to many Bible students. ‘Jehovah” is
the very name which is translated ‘the Lord” scores of times In Genesis.
Abraham knew “the name” of Jehovah, for we read that he “called on the
name of the Lord” (

Genesis 13:4). Of Isaac, too, we read,
“And he built an altar there, and called upon the name of the Lord”

Genesis 26:25).
And of Jacob we read of him praying,
“O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the
Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy
kindred, and I will deal well with thee, I am not worthy of the least
of all Thy mercies”, etc. (

Genesis 32:9, 10).
It is, therefore, clear that the patriarchs were acquainted with God’s name
of Jehovah. What, then, did the Almighty mean when He said here to
Moses, “by My name JEHOVAH was I not known to them”? It is clear that
this is one of many scriptures which cannot be interpreted absolutely, but
must be understood relatively. We believe that the key to the difficulty is
supplied by what follows, where the Lord says, ‘I have also established My
covenant with them”.
The Divine-titles are a most important subject of study for they are
inseparably connected with a sound interpretation of the Scriptures. Elohim
and Jehovah are not employed loosely on the pages of Holy Writ. Each has
a definite significance, and the distinction is carefully preserved. Elohim
(God) is the name which speaks of the Creator and Governor of His
creatures. Jehovah (the Lord) is His title as connected with His people by
covenant relationship. It is this which explains the verses now before us..76
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were acquainted with the Jehovistic title, but
they had no experimental acquaintance with all that it stood for. God has
entered into a “covenant” with them, but, as

Hebrews 11:13 tells us,
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises”. But now the
time had drawn nigh when the Lord was about to fulfill His covenant
engagement and Israel would witness the faithfulness, the power, and the
deliverance which His covenant-name implied. God was about to manifest
Himself as the faithful performer of His word, and as such the descendants
of the patriarchs would know Him in a way their fathers had not.
“And I have also established My covenant with them, to give them
the land of Canaan, the land of your pilgrimage, wherein they were
strangers” (v. 4).
Here then was the next encouragement which the Lord set before His
fearful servant. He reminds him how that He had established His covenant
with the patriarchs, to whom He had pledged Himself to give them the land
of Canaan. How impossible was it, then, that the Egyptians should
continue to hold them as slaves. How foolish and how wicked Moses’
unbelieving fears. If Jehovah had established a covenant it must be fulfilled,
for that covenant was an unconditional one. A similar ground of assurance
have we to stay our hearts upon in the midst of the trials of this scene. Says
our God, “Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall
live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure
mercies of David”, i.e. “the Beloved” (

Isaiah 55:3) — note how the
apostle Paul quotes from this very verse in his sermon at Antioch (

13:34). There are those who say that the saints of this dispensation are not
related to God by covenant bonds, but this is a mistake. They are, as

Hebrews 13:20 makes abundantly clear, for there we read of “the blood
of the everlasting covenant”. Before time began the Father entered into a
covenant with our glorious Head, (cf.

Titus 1:2) and that covenant was
sealed by blood. And just as the covenant God made with Abraham
guaranteed “an heritage” (

Exodus 6:8), so the covenant which the
Father made with the Son (cf.

Hebrews 7:22) has an inheritance
connected with it, even an inheritance which is “incorruptible and
undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven” for us (

1 Peter
1:4). May our faith so lay hold upon it that even now we shall live in the
enjoyment of it..77
“And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom
the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered My
covenant” (v. 5).
Additional comfort was this for God’s servant. Moses had told the Lord
how that since he had spoken to Pharaoh he had done evil to the Hebrews

5:23). The Lord needed not to be told this. He was neither oblivious
nor indifferent to their sufferings. He had heard the “groaning of the
children of Israel”. And, fellow-Christian, thou who art tried beyond
endurance, the Lord has heard thy groanings; every tear has been recorded
in His book (

Psalm 56:8); and what is more, He sympathizes with thee,
and is touched with the feeling of thine infirmities (

Hebrews 4:15).
Though there may be much of unfathomable mystery as to why God
permits our “groanings”, nevertheless, here is much cause for comfort —
God “hears them”!
“Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and
(1) I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and
(2) I will rid you out of their bondage, and
(3) 1 will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great
judgments: And
(4) I will take you to Me for a people, and
(5) I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your
God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
(6) I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did sware
to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and
(7) I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord” (vv. 6-8).
Observe that these verses commence with the word “Therefore” which
looks back to the closing words of the previous verse: “I have remembered
My covenant”. The contents of these verses, thee, grow out of the
covenant which the Lord made with Abraham, and confirmed to Isaac and
Jacob. It will be noted that in them the Lord makes seven promises,
prefacing them with the declaration “I will”.
In Genesis 17 we find recorded another seven “I will’s” of Jehovah: “And.78
(1) I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and
(2) 1 will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And
(3) I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed
after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God
unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And
(4) 1 will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein
thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting
possession; and
(5) 1 will be their God…. and
(6) I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant,
and with his seed after him. But My covenant
(7) I will establish with Isaac” (vv. 6, 7, 8, 19, 21).
With these passages should be compared the “new covenant” recorded in

Jeremiah 31:33, 34. Here, too, we find seven promises from the Lord:
“After those days, saith the Lord,
(1) I will put My law in their inward parts, and
(2) write it in their hearts; and
(3) will be their God, and
(4) they shall be My people. And
(5) they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his
brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the
least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: and
(6) I will forgive their iniquity, and
(7) I will remember their sin no more”. Let us now consider, though
briefly, each of the seven promises which God here made to Moses:
(1) “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. This
speaks of God’s gracious purpose. His people were groaning beneath the
intolerable demands made by their cruel taskmasters. For many weary years
they had toiled under a load which was becoming more and more
unendurable. Was there then no eye to pity, no hand to deliver? There was..79
The covenant God of their fathers had promised that at the end of four
hundred years’ affliction they should be emancipated (see

15:13-16). And now the time had come for God to make good His word.
He declares, therefore, that He will bring them out from under their
burdens. So, too, this is what God does for each of His elect today. The
first thing of which we are conscious in the application of salvation to our
souls is deliverance from the burdens of our lost condition, of conscious
guilt, of our unpreparedness to die.
(2) “And I will rid you out of their bondage”. As another has said, “This
was something far more than mere relief from their burdens: it was a
complete severance from their previous condition. A slave may be sold to a
kind master, and his burden removed, but he would remain a slave still; and
Israel’s burdens might have been removed, and they still remain captives in
Egypt. But this was not God’s way. He would rid them clean out of the
land of bondage. Instead of them toiling in the kilns of Egypt, He would
have them out in the wilderness, in communion with Himself. This is still
God’s way. The one who receives Christ as his Savior is delivered from the
bondage of sin, of Satan, of the fear of death”.
(3) “I will redeem you”. To redeem means to purchase and set free.
Evangelical redemption is by price and by power. The price is the shedding
of atoning blood: the power, the putting forth of an all-mighty hand. It was
thus God would deliver Israel. First the slaying of the paschal lamb and
then the display of Divine omnipotence at the Red Sea. Thus it is with the
Christian: we have been redeemed, not with corruptible things as silver and
gold, but with the precious blood of the Lamb (

1 Peter 1:18, 19) ; we
are not our own, but “bought with a price” (

1 Corinthians 6:20).
Almighty power was put forth at our regeneration, for we read of
“the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe”

Ephesians 1:19).
(4) “And I will take you to Me for a people”. For Israel this meant that
henceforth they, as a nation, would occupy an unique relationship to God:
they would be His peculiar treasure, the objects of His special care and
favor. Marvelous indeed was it that the great Jehovah should own as His a
down-trodden nation of slaves. But He did! And on what ground? The
ground of redemption. He had redeemed them unto Himself. The same
blessed truth is set forth on the pages of the New Testament. We, too,
belong to God as His peculiar people. Utterly unfit and unworthy in.80
ourselves, yet precious in the sight of God for Christ’s sake — “Accepted
in the Beloved”.
(5) “And I will be to you a God”. How fully was this exemplified in the
sequel! Who but God could have made a way through the Sea so that His
redeemed passed over dry shod; and who but He could have caused that
Sea to turn back and drown the hosts of the Egyptians? Who but God
could have guided His people through that trackless desert by a pillar of
cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night? Who but God could have
quenched their thirst from a rock, and fed a hungry multitude for forty
years in a wilderness? Truly He was a “God” unto Israel. And such is His
promise to us: “I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (

Corinthians 6:16). And daily does every believer receive a performance of
this promise. None but God could preserve to the end a people so ignorant,
so weak, so fickle, so sinful, as each of us is.
(6) “I will bring you in unto the land”. Not only did the Lord bring His
people out of the land of bondage, but He also brought them into the land
which He had sworn to give unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is true that
many, many individuals fell in the wilderness, but nevertheless, the nation
of Israel God brought into Canaan. They were not consumed by the
Amalekites (Exodus 17). Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og king of
Bashan, might “gather all his people together” and go out against Israel
(Numbers 21), and Balak might hire Balaam to curse the people of God,
but the Lord speedily brought to naught their efforts. God did bring Israel
into the promised land. And He will bring each of us, His blood-bought
ones, safely to Heaven. The world, the flesh, and the Devil may array
themselves against us, but not a single sheep of Christ shall perish.
(7) “And I will give it you for an heritage”. This was the goal toward
which God was working. All was done in order that they might enjoy that
which He had promised to their fathers. Not yet has this been completely
fulfilled. It is in the Millennium that Israel shall enter fully into their
covenanted portion. In like manner, the full enjoyment of our heritage is
future. Already we have “the earnest of our inheritance” (

1:14); soon shall we have the portion itself. And note this is a gift. It is not
by works of merit, but solely by sovereign grace.
“Note how these seven ‘I will’s’ are enclosed in a framework of
Divine assurance. They are prefaced and summed up with the
words, ‘I am Jehovah’. As if God would fix their eyes on Himself.81
as the Almighty One, before He utters a single ‘I will’; and then, at
the close of the unfolding of His wondrous purposes, He would still
keep their eye on the fact that it is He, the Almighty, who speaks.
Every doubt and difficulty would vanish if faith but grasped the fact
that it is ‘I am’ who has pledged His word. Faith remembers with
calm and unruffled peace, in spite of circumstances, that ‘With God
all things are possible’” (Dr. Brookes).
“And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel; but they
hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel
bondage” (v. 9).
How this exposes the heart of the unregenerate! The condition of the poor
sinner is vividly portrayed in these earlier chapters of Exodus. First,
groaning in bondage; second, ignorant of that grace which God had in
store for them; and now unable to value the precious promises of Jehovah.
While we are in bondage to sin and Satan, even the promises of God fail to
bring us any relief. Relief never comes until the shed blood of the “lamb” is
applied ! It was so with Israel; it is equally true with men today.
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Go in, speak unto
Pharaoh king of Egypt. that he let the children of Israel go out of
his land” (vv. 10, 11).
Moses was not to be afraid of the haughty monarch, but must interview
him again, and speak plainly and boldly, not in a supplicatory, but in an
authoritative way, in the name of the King of kings. This was before the
Lord proceeded to punish Pharaoh for his disobedience, that His judgments
might appear more manifestly just and right.
“And Moses spake before the Lord, saying. Behold, the children of
Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear
me, who am of uncircumcised lips?” (v. 12).
Why did Moses refer again to the impediment in his speech? Was it
because that he thought the Lord ought to have removed it, and because he
was dissatisfied at having Aaron to act as his mouthpiece?
“And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron and gave them a
charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt,
to bring the children of Israel Out of the land of Egypt” (v. 13)..82
The Lord having previously answered this same objection of Moses

4:10-12) makes no further reply to it now, but instead, gives him a
charge unto his own people-to comfort and direct them how they should
conduct themselves in the interval before God’s deliverance arrived — and
unto Pharaoh.
From verses 14-37 we have a list of genealogies brought in here to show
us the ancestors of God’s ambassadors, and also to demonstrate the Lord’s
sovereign grace. Only those genealogies of the Hebrews are here given
which concern the offspring of the first three of Jacob’s sons. The sons of
Reuben and of Simeon are named, but not from either of them did God
select the honored instrument of deliverance. The order of grace is not the
order of nature. It was from the tribe of Levi which, along with Simeon,
lay under a curse (

Genesis 49:5-7) that God called Moses and Aaron.
And here too we may see grace exemplified by giving Moses, the younger,
the precedency over Aaron, the senior. It should also be noted that Levi
was the third son of Jacob — the number which ever speaks of
resurrection — that the deliverer came
The last three verses of our chapter connect the narrative with verse 10. As
another has said,
“The objection of Moses in verse 30 is evidently the same as in
verse 12. And yet there is a reason for its repetition. In chapters 3
and 4 Moses makes five difficulties in reply to the Lord; here in the
6th, are two, making seven altogether. It was therefore the
complete exhibition of the weakness and unbelief of Moses. How it
magnifies the grace and goodness of the Lord; for in His presence
man is revealed; it also brings to light what He is in all the
perfections of His grace, love, mercy and truth” (E. Dennett)..83

The seventh chapter begins the second literary division of the book of
Exodus. The first six chapters are concerned more particularly with the
person of the deliverer, the next six with an account of the work of
redemption. In the first section we have had a brief description of the
deadly persecution of Israel, then an account of Moses’ birth and his
miraculous preservation by God, then his identifying of himself with his
people and his flight into Midian. Next, we have learned how God met him,
commanded him to go down into Egypt, overcame his fears, and equipped
him for his mission. Finally, we have noted how that he delivered Jehovah’s
message to the Hebrews and then to Pharaoh, and how that the king
refused to heed the Divine demand, and how in consequence the people
were thoroughly discouraged by the increased burdens laid upon them.
Moses himself was deeply dejected, and chapter 6 closes with the Lord’s
servant bemoaning the seeming hopelessness of his task. Thus the
weakness of the instrument was fully manifested that it might the better be
seen that the power was of Jehovah alone, and of Jehovah acting not in
response to faith but in covenant faithfulness and in sovereign grace.
From chapter 7 onwards there is a marked change: Moses is no more
timid, hesitant and discouraged. The omnipotence of the Lord is displayed
in every scene. The conflict from this point onwards was one not of words
but of deeds. The gauntlet had been thrown down, and now it is open war
between the Almighty and the Egyptians. It hardly needs to be pointed out
that what is before us in these early chapters of Exodus is something more
than a mere episode in ancient history, something more than what was
simply of local interest. A thrilling drama is unfolded to our view, and
though its movements are swift, yet is there sufficient detail and repetition
in principle for us to discern clearly its great design. It spreads before us, in
vivid tableau, the great conflict between good and evil as far as this comes
within the range of human vision..84
So far as Scripture informs us the Great Conflict is being fought Out in this
world, hence this historical drama, with its profound symbolic moral
meaning, was staged in the land of Egypt. The great mystery in connection
with the Conflict is forcibly shown us in the prosperity of the wicked and
the adversity of the righteous. The Egyptians held the whip hand: the
Hebrews groaned under unbearable oppression. The leading characters in
the tableau are Moses as the vicegerent of God, and Pharaoh as the
representative and emissary of Satan. The powerful and haughty king takes
fiendish delight in persecuting the Lord’s people, and openly defies the
Almighty Himself. To outward sight the issue seemed long in doubt. The
kingdom of Pharaoh was shaken again and again — as has the kingdom of
Satan been during the course of the ages, in such events as the Flood, the
destruction of the Canaanites the Advent of the Son of God, the day of
Pentecost, the Reformation, etc., etc. — but each fresh interposition of
Jehovah’s power and the withdrawal of His judgments only issued in the
hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. The prolongation of the Egyptian contest
gave full opportunity for the complete testing of human responsibility, the
trying of the saints’ faith, and the manifestation of all the perfections and
attributes of Deity — apparently the three chief ends which the Creator has
in view in suffering the entrance and continuance of evil in His domains.
The great drama closes by showing the absolute triumph of Jehovah. the
completed redemption of His people, and the utter overthrow of His and
their enemies. Thus we have revealed to the eye of faith the Glorious
Consummation when God’s elect — through the work of the Mediator —
shall be emancipated from all bondage, when every high thing that exalteth
itself against the Almighty shall be cast down, and when God Himself shall
be all in all. We shall now follow step by step the various stages by which
this end was reached.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to
Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet” (

This presents a startling contrast from what was before us at the close of
Exodus 6. There we read of Moses’ complaint before the Lord, “I am of
uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?”. That was a
confession of feebleness, but it sprang from unbelief. Here we find Jehovah
acting according to His sovereign power and dealing in wondrous grace
with His poor servant..85
“I have made thee a god to Pharaoh”, that is, Jehovah had selected Moses
to act as His ambassador, had invested him with Divine authority, and was
about to use him to perform prodigies which were contrary to the ordinary
course of nature. But mark the qualification, “I have made thee a god to
Pharaoh”. Acting in God’s stead, Moses was to rule over Egypt’s proud
king, commanding him what he should do, controlling him when he did
wrong, and punishing him for his disobedience, so that Pharaoh had to
apply to him for the removal of the plagues.
“And Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet”. If this be compared with

4:15, 16 we shall find a Divine definition of what constitutes a prophet.
There we find the Lord promising Moses concerning Aaron that “thou
shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy
mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he
shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to
thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.” God’s
prophet then is God’s spokesman: he acts as God’s mouthpiece, the Lord
putting into his lips the very words he would utter. Thus Moses was a “god
to Pharaoh” in this additional way, in that he had one who acted as his
“Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother
shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of
his land” (v. 2).
This injunction was very definite. Moses was not free to make a selection
from Jehovah’s words and communicate to Aaron those which he deemed
most advisable to say unto Pharaoh, but he was to speak all that had been
commanded him. A similar charge is laid upon God’s servant today: he is
to “preach the Word” (

2 Timothy 4:3) and to “hold fast the form of
sound words” (

2 Timothy 1:13), and is warned that
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words,
even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which
is according to godliness; he is a fool, knowing nothing” (

Timothy 6:3, 4).
But alas! how few, how very few there are, who faithfully shun not to
declare “the whole counsel of God”.
“And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My
wonders in the land of Egypt” (v. 3)..86
This verse brings before us one of the most solemn truths revealed in the
Holy Scriptures — the Divine hardening of human hearts. At no point,
perhaps, has the slowness of man to believe all that the prophets have
spoken been more lamentably manifested than here. The hardening of
Pharaoh’s heart by God has been eagerly seized by His enemies to make an
attack upon the citadel of truth. Infidels have argued that if Pharaoh’s
subsequent crimes were the result of his heart being hardened by Jehovah,
then that makes God the author of his sins; and, furthermore, God must be
very unrighteous in punishing him for them. The sad thing is that so many
of the profess servants of God have, instead of faithfully maintaining the
integrity of God’s Word, attempted to blunt its keen edge in order to make
it more acceptable to the carnal mind. Instead of acknowledging with fear
and trembling that God’s Word does teach that the Lord actually hardened
the heart of Pharaoh, most of the commentators have really argued that He
did nothing of the kind, that He simply permitted the Egyptian monarch to
harden his own heart.
That Pharaoh did harden his own heart the Scriptures expressly affirm, but
they also declare that THE LORD hardened his heart too, and clearly this
is not one and the same thing, or the two different ‘expressions would not
have been employed. Our duty is to believe both- statements, but to
attempt to show the philosophy of their reconciliation is probably, as
another has said, “to attempt to fathom infinity”. In

Psalm 105:25 it is
said, “He turned their hearts to hate His people, to deal subtilely with His
servants”. Nothing could be stronger or plainer than this. Are we to deny it
because we cannot explain the way in which God did it? On the same
ground we might reject the doctrine of the Trinity. I may be asked how
God could in any sense harden a man’s heart without Him being the
Author of sin. But the most assured belief of the fact does not require that
an answer should be given by me to this question. If God has not explained
the matter (and He has not), then it is not for us to feign to be wise above
what is written. I believe many things recorded in Scripture not because I
can explain their rationale, but because I know that God cannot lie. Calvin
was right when he represented those as perverting the Scriptures who
insist that no more is meant than a bare permission when God is said to
harden the hearts of men. Is it nothing more than passive permission on His
part when God softens men’s hearts? Is it not, rather, by His active
agency? Let us remember that it is no part of our business to vindicate God
in justifying the grounds of His procedure; our responsibility is to believe.87
all that He has revealed in His Word, on the sole ground of His written
testimony. Our business is to “preach the Word” in its purity, not to tone it
down or explain away its most objectionable portions in order to render it
acceptable to the depraved reason of worms of the dust. The Lord will
vindicate Himself in due time, silencing all His critics, and glorifying
Himself before His saints.
It should be pointed out that the case of Pharaoh and the Egyptians does
not by any means stand alone in the Holy Scriptures. In

2:30 Moses records the fact that “Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us
pass by him: for the Lord thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart
obstinate, that He might deliver him into thy hand”. The reference is to

Numbers 21:21-23 where we read, “And Israel sent messengers unto
Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, Let me pass through thy land: we will
not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink of the
waters of the ground: but we will go along by the king’s highway, until we
be passed thy borders. And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through
his borders”. The verse in Deuteronomy explains to us the reason of
Sihon’s obstinacy. Clearly it was no mere judicial hardening, instead it was
a solemn illustration of what we read of in

Romans 9:18, “whom He
will He hardens”. So, too, in

Joshua 11:19, 20 we are told
“There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel,
save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in
battle. For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they
should come against Israel in battle, that He might destroy them
Such solemn passages as these are not to be reasoned about, but must be
accepted in childlike faith, knowing that the Judge of all the earth does
nothing but what is right.
“But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand
upon Egypt, and bring forth Mine armies, and My people the
children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments, and
the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth
Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from
among them” (vv. 4,5).
These verses supply us with one reason why the Lord hardened the hearts
of Pharaoh and the Egyptians: it was in order that He might have full.88
opportunity to display His mighty power. A dark background it was
indeed, but a dark background is required to bring out the white light of
Divine holiness. Similarly we find the Lord Jesus saying,
“It must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by
whom the offense cometh” (

Matthew 18:7).
What Jehovah’s “great judgments” were we shall see in the chapters that
“And Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded them, so did
they” (v. 6).
Why are we told this here? We believe the answer is, To point a contrast
from what we find at the beginning of Exodus 5. In the opening verse of
that chapter we learn that Moses “went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the
Lord God of Israel, Let My people go”. This was the Lord’s peremptory
demand. Then we read of Pharaoh’s scornful refusal. Now note what
follows: “And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us
go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the
Lord our God” It is plain that Moses and Aaron changed the Lord’s
words. They toned down the offensive message. Instead of occupying the
high ground of God’s ambassadors and commanding Pharaoh, they
descended to the servile level of pleading with him and making a request
of him. It is for this reason, we believe, that in 7:1 we find Jehovah saying
to Moses, “See (that is, mark it well) I have made thee a god to Pharaoh”:
it is not for you to go and beg from him, it is for you to demand and
command. And then the Lord added, “Thou shalt speak all that I command
thee”. This time the Lord’s servants obeyed to the letter, hence we are now
told that they “did as the Lord commanded them, so did they”.
“And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and
three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh” (v. 7).
This reference to the ages of Moses and Aaron seems to be brought in here
in order to magnify the power and grace of Jehovah. He was pleased to
employ two aged men as His instruments. No doubt the Holy Spirit would
also impress us with the lengthiness of Israel’s afflictions, and the long-sufferance
of Jehovah before He dealt in judgment. For over eighty years
the Hebrews had been sorely oppressed..89
“And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When
Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Show a miracle for you: then
thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before
Pharaoh, and it shall become a. serpent. And Moses and Aaron
went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the Lord had commanded:
and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his
servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the
wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also
did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down
every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod
swallowed up their rods” (vv. 8-12).
The reason why Pharaoh asked Moses and Aaron to perform a miracle was
to test them and prove whether or not the God of the Hebrews had really
sent them. The miracle or sign selected we have already considered at
length in Article 6. Its meaning and message in the present connection is
not easy to determine. From an evidential viewpoint it demonstrated that
Moses and Aaron were supernaturally endowed. Probably, too, the rod
becoming a serpent was designed to speak to the conscience of Pharaoh,
intimating that he and his people were under the dominion of Satan. This
seems to be borne out by the fact that nothing was here said — either by
the Lord when instructing Moses (v. 9), or in the description of the miracle
(vv. 10-12) — about the serpent being turned into a rod again. It is also
very significant that the second sign — the restoring of the leprous hand —
which accredited Moses before the Israelites, was not performed before
Pharaoh. The reason for this is obvious: the people of God, not the men of
the world, are the only ones who have revealed to them the secret of
deliverance from we defilement of sin.
The response of Pharaoh to this miracle wrought by Moses and Aaron was
remarkable. The king summoned his wise men and the sorcerers — those
who were in league with the powers of evil — and they duplicated the
miracle. It is indeed sad to find almost all of the commentators denying that
a real miracle was performed by the Egyptian magicians. Whatever
philosophical or doctrinal difficulties may be involved, it ill becomes us to
yield to the rationalism of our day. The scriptural account is very explicit
and leaves no room for uncertainty. First, the Holy Spirit has told us that
the magicians of Egypt “also did in like manner (as what Moses and Aaron
had done) with their enchantments.” These words are not to be explained
away, but are to be received by simple faith. Second, it is added, “for they.90
cast down every man his rod, (not something else which they had
substituted by sleight of hand) and they (the rods) became serpents”. If
language has any meaning then these words bar out the idea that the
magicians threw down serpents. They cast down their rods, and these
became serpents. Finally, we are told, “but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their
rods”, i.e., Aaron’s rod, now turned into a serpent, swallowed up their
rods, now become serpents. That the Holy Spirit has worded it in this way
is evidently for the express purpose of forbidding us to conclude that
anything other than “rods” were cast to the ground.
If it should be asked, How was it possible for these Egyptian sorcerers to
perform this miracle? the answer must be, By the power of the Devil. This
subject is admittedly mysterious, and much too large a one for us to enter
into now at length. As remarked at the beginning of this paper, what is
before us here in these earlier chapters of Exodus adumbrates the great
conflict between good and evil. Pharaoh acts throughout as the
representative of Satan, and the fact that he was able to summon magicians
who could work such prodigies only serves to illustrate and exemplify the
mighty powers which the Devil has at his disposal. It is both foolish and
mischievous to underestimate the strength of our great Enemy. The one
that was permitted to transport our Savior from the wilderness to the
temple at Jerusalem, and the one who was able to show Him “all the
kingdoms of the world in a moment of time” (

Luke 4:5), would have no
difficulty in empowering his emissaries to transform their rods into
“They cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but
Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods” (v. 12).
This is very striking. The magicians appeared in the name of their “gods”

Exodus 12:12 and

18:11), but this miracle made it apparent that
the power of Moses was superior to their sorceries, and opposed to them
too. This “sign” foreshadowed the end of the great conflict then beginning,
as of every other wherein powers terrestrial and infernal contend with the
“The symbols of their authority have disappeared, and that of
Jehovah’s servants alone remained” (Urquhart)..91
“And He hardened Pharaoh’s heart (literally, Pharaoh’s heart was
hardened) that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said”
(v. 13).
Here again the commentators offend grievously. They insist, almost one
and all, that this verse signifies that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, and
that it was not until later, and because of Pharaoh’s obduracy, that the
Lord “hardened” his heart. But this very verse unequivocally repudiates
their carnal reasonings. This verse emphatically declares that Pharaoh’s
heart was hardened, that he hearkened not unto them, as the Lord had
said”. Now let the previous chapters be read through carefully and note
what the Lord had said. He had said nothing whatever about Pharaoh
hardening his own heart! But He had said, “I will harden his heart”

4:21), and again, “I will harden his heart” (

7:3). This settles the
matter. God had expressly declared that He would harden the king’s heart,
and now we read in

7:13 that “Pharaoh’s heart was hardened (not, “was
hard”), that he harkened not unto them, AS the Lord had said”. Man ever
reverses the order of God. The carnal mind says, Do good in order to be
saved: God says, You must be saved before you can do any good thing.
The carnal mind reasons that a man must believe in order to be born again;
the Scriptures teach that a man must first have spiritual life before he can
manifest the activities of that life. Those who follow the theologians will
conclude that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart because the king had first
hardened his heart; but those who bow to the authority of Holy Writ (and
there are very few who really do so), will acknowledge that Pharaoh
hardened his heart because God had first hardened it.
What is said here of Pharaoh affords a most solemn illustration of what we
read of in

Proverbs 21:1:
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water:
He turneth it whithersoever He will”.
The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart is not one whit more appalling than what
we read of it

Revelation 17:17:
“For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree,
and give their kingdom unto the Beast”.
Here we find ten kings in league with the Antichrist, the Man of Sin, and
that it is God Himself who puts it into their hearts to give their kingdom
unto him. Again we say that such things are not to he philosophized about..92
Nor are we to call into question the righteousness and holiness of God’s
ways. Scripture plainly tells us that His ways are “past finding out”

Romans 11:33). Let us then tremble before Him, and if in marvelous
grace He has softened our hearts let us magnify His sovereign mercy

For over eighty years, and probably much longer, the Egyptians had
oppressed the Hebrews, and patiently had God borne with their
persecution of His people. But the time had arrived when He was to
interpose on behalf of His “firstborn” (

4:22) and take vengeance on
those who had reduced Israel to the most servile bondage. The Lord is
slow to anger and plenteous in mercy, but,
“He will not always chide; neither will He keep His anger forever”

Psalm 103:9).
A succession of terrible judgments therefore now descended upon Pharaoh
and upon his land, judgments which are known as “the Plagues of Egypt”.
They were ten in number.
First, the waters of the Nile were turned into blood (

Second, frogs covered the land and entered the homes of the Egyptians

Third, lice was made to attack their persons (

Fourth, swarms of flies invaded the houses of the Egyptians and
covered the ground (

Fifth, a grievous disease smote the cattle (

Sixth, boils and sores were sent on man and beast (

Seventh, thunder and hail were added to the terrors of these Divine
visitations (

Eighth, locusts consumed all vegetation (

Ninth, thick darkness, which might be felt, overspread the land for
three days (

Tenth, the firstborn of man and beast were slain (11, 12). A frightful
summary is found in Psalm 78:
“He cast upon them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, and
indignation, and tribulation, by sending evil angels among them. He
made a way to His anger; He spared not their soul from death, but
gave their life over to the pestilence, and smote all the firstborn in
Egypt, the chief of their strength in the tabernacle of Ham” (vv.

49-51 and cf.

Psalm 105:27-36).
That there is much for us to learn from the record of these judgments
cannot be doubted. That they set forth many important lessons of a
practical, typical, and prophetic nature, we are fully satisfied. Their order,
their arrangement, their number, their nature, their purpose, their effects,
each call for careful and separate study. Little or no attempt has been made
(so far as we are aware) to supply a detailed interpretation of their
significance, so that there is small help to be oh-tamed from the
commentaries. This must cast us hack the more on the Lord Himself, who
never fails a dependent soul that turns to Him for aid. Let the little light
which has been granted the writer stir up the reader to earnestly seek, at
the Throne of Grace, more for himself. In this article we shall generalize; in
the next we shall enter more into detail.
The purpose of these plagues was manifold.
First, they gave a public manifestation of the mighty power of the Lord
God (see

9:16). This, the very magicians were made to acknowledge —
“then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God”

Second, they were a Divine visitation of wrath, a punishment of Pharaoh
and the Egyptians for their cruel treatment of the Hebrews. This the
haughty monarch was compelled to admit — “Then Pharaoh called for
Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the Lord your
God, and against you” (

Third, They were a judgment from God upon the gods (demons) of Egypt.
This is taught in

Numbers 33:4 — “For the Egyptians buried all their.95
firstborn which the Lord had smitten among them; upon their gods also the
Lord executed judgment s”.
Fourth, they demonstrated that Jehovah was high above all gods. This was
confessed later by Jethro — “And Jethro said, Blessed he the Lord who
hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of
Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the
Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods; for in the
thing wherein they dealt proudly He was above them.”
Fifth, They furnished a complete testing of human responsibility. This is
indicated by their number, for one of the leading signification of ten, is full
responsibility — compare the tea Commandments, e.g.
Sixth, They were a solemn warning to other nations, that God would curse
those who curse the Israelites (

Genesis 12:3). This was plainly realized
by Rahab of Jericho —
“And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you
the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the
inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard
how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when ye
came out of Egypt” etc. (

Joshua 2:8,9).
It was also felt by the Philistines —
“Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty
Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the
plagues in the wilderness” (

1 Samuel 4:8).
Finally, these miraculous plagues were evidently designed as a series of
testings for Israel. This is taught in

Deuteronomy 4:33, 34, where
Moses asked Israel, “Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out
of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? or hath God assayed
to go and take Him a nation from the midst of another nation, by
temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand,
and by stretched out arms, and by great terrors, according to all that the
Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?” The outcome of
these testings was expressed in the following words —.96
“who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like Thee,
glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”

Exodus 15:11)!
2. The arrangement of the plagues plainly manifests Divine order and
design. The tenth is separated from all the others because of its special
relation to Israel and their redemption. The other nine are arranged in
groups of three’s.
“They form three divisions, each division consisting of three
plagues. That these dividing lines are drawn by the Scripture itself
will be plain when we note one remarkable feature. A warning
precedes, in each instance, the first and the second plagues; but
with the third in each series no warning is given. Thus Moses is
commanded to meet Pharaoh before the waters of Egypt are turned
into blood. So again (

8:1) when the frogs are to cover the land,
Moses is to go in unto Pharaoh and announce what God is about to
do. But when the dust is smitten and it becomes lice throughout the
land of Egypt there is no command to seek Pharaoh’s presence. So
it is with the sixth plague, when the ashes of the furnace are used,
and it becomes boils upon man and beast; and so also is it with the
ninth plague, when the land was covered with darkness as with the
pall of death. In none of these three cases is there any
announcement to Pharaoh. It was a reminder that God would not
always strive; and that warning, repeated but unheeded, will be
followed by judgment sudden and terrible” (Urquhart).
Murphy in his commentary on the book of Exodus has also called attention
to the fact that “in the first three plagues, Aaron uses the rod; in the second
and third, it is not mentioned; in the third three, Moses uses it, though in
the last of them only his hand is mentioned. All these marks of order lie on
the face of the narrative, and point to a deep order of nature and reason out
of which they spring.”
There is a striking Introversion to be observed in connection with the
plagues. Thus, in the first, the waters of the Nile were turned into blood —
the symbol of death; while in the tenth there was actual blood-shedding, in
the death of all the first-horn. In the second plague, the frogs which are
creatures of the night, that is, of darkness, came forth; while in the ninth
plague there was actual darkness itself. In the third plague, the magicians
were forced to exclaim, This is the finger of God (

8:19); while in the.97
eighth (the balancing number according to the Introversion) Pharaoh said,
“I have sinned against the Lord your God” (

10:16). In the fourth plague
we are specifically informed that God exempted the land of Goshen — “no
swarms of flies shall be there” (

8:22); so also in connection with the
seventh plague we read, “only in the land of Goshen, where the children of
Israel were, was there no hail”. While that which was common to both the
fifth and the sixth plagues was the fact that in each of them the cattle of the
Egyptians were attacked (see

9:3 and

9:9). Thus we see again the
Divine hand in the arrangement and order of these different plagues.
3. The progressive nature of these plagues is easily perceived. There was a
marked gradation, a steady advance in the severity of the Divine
judgments. The first three interfered merely with the comfort of the
Egyptians: the first, depriving them of water to drink and to wash in; the
second, invading their homes with the frogs; the third, the lice attacking
their persons. In the second three the Lord’s hand was laid on their
possessions; the first, the “flies” corrupting their land (

8:24); the
second, destroying their cattle; and the third, attacking their persons again,
this time in the form of “boils” and “blains” (sores). The last three brought
desolation and death, more plainly evidencing the direct hand of God; the
hail destroyed both the herbage and the cattle; the locusts consuming what
vegetation was not ruined by the hail; the darkness arresting all activity
throughout the land of Egypt. All of this served to illustrate a principle
which is very marked in all of the Divine dealings; as in nature, so in grace
and also in judgment, there is first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn
in the ear!
4. The moral significance of these plagues is very striking. They furnish a
most solemn and complete description of the world-system (which Egypt
accurately portrayed) in its dominant features. The water turned into blood
tells of how death broods over this scene. The frogs, by their very inflation,
suggest the pride and self-sufficiency of the children of this world. The
plague of lice speaks of the uncleanness and filth which issue from the lusts
of the flesh. The swarms of flies announces how that the wicked are of
their father the Devil, i.e. “Beelzebub”, which means “Lord of flies”. The
murnan (anthrax) of cattle (beasts of burden) — tells us that the service of
the natural man is corrupted at its source. The boils and blains make us
think of that awful description of the unregenerate given through the
prophet Isaiah —.98
“From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness
in it; but wounds and bruises, and putrifying sores” (

The hail (accompanied by fearful lightnings which ran along the ground)
symbolized that the wrath of God abideth on the disobedient. The locusts
which ate up all the vegetation, pictured the spiritual barrenness of this
world — a desolate waste so far as the soul is concerned. The dense
darkness shows how that the world is alienated from Him who is Light.
The death of all the firstborn (representative of the family) foretells that
Second Death which awaits all whose hearts are hardened against God.
5. The plagues were designed to establish the faith of the Israelites. For
four hundred years they had dwelt in a land of idolatry, where Jehovah was
entirely unknown. Moreover, the priests of Egypt were able to perform
deeds which could not be explained apart from supernatural agency. The
Lord therefore was pleased to so manifest Himself now that all impartial
observers (whose minds were not blinded by Satan) must recognize the
existence and omnipotence of the true God, in contradistinction from the
impotency of the false gods of their heathen neighbors. In the plagues, the
presence and power of Jehovah were demonstrated, so that He stood
discovered to His people as the Living God. This comes out the more
clearly when it is recognized that these displays of the Lord’s power were
so many judgments directed against the false confidences and idolatrous
objects of the Egyptians (see

12:12). The sign which authenticated the
mission of Moses to Pharaoh furnished more than a hint — the “serpent”
was an object of worship among the Egyptians, and when Aaron’s serpent-transformed
rod swallowed those of the magicians, a plain warning was
given that their god would be unable to save them from the forthcoming
Others have described in detail the particular “gods” against which the
different plagues were directed, so that it is unnecessary for us to say more
than a few words upon this phase of our subject. The first plague smote the
Nile, an object regarded with profound veneration by the Egyptians. Its
waters were held as sacred as is the Ganges by the Hindoos. A fearful blow
then was it to their system of worship when its waters were turned to
blood and its dead fish made to stink. In the second plague, the Nile was
made to send forth myriads of frogs, which invaded the homes of the
Egyptians and became a nuisance and torment to the people. In the third
plague, lice were sent upon man and beast, and, ‘if it be remembered”, says.99
Gleig, “that no one could approach the altars of Egypt upon which so
impure an Insect harbored; and, that the priests to guard against the
slightest risk of contamination, wore only linen garments, and shaved their
heads and bodies every third day, the severity of this miracle as a judgment
upon Egyptian idolatry may be imagined. Whilst it lasted no act of worship
could be performed, and so keenly was this felt that the very magicians
explained, ‘this is the finger of God’”.
The fourth plague was designed
“to destroy the trust of the people in Beelzebub, or the Fly-god,
who was reverenced as their protector from visitation of swarms of
ravenous flies, which infested the land generally about the time of
the dog-days, and removed only as they supposed at the will of
their idol. The miracle now wrought by Moses evinced the
impotence of Beelzebub and caused the people to look elsewhere
for relief from the fearful visitation under which they were
suffering. The fifth plague, which consumed all the cattle, excepting
those of the Israelites, was aimed at the destruction of the entire
system of brute worship, This system, degrading and bestial as it
was, had become a monster of many heads in Egypt. They had their
sacred bull, and ram, and heifer, and goat, and many others, all of
which were destroyed by the agency of the God of Moses, thus, by
one act of power, Jehovah manifested His own supremacy and
destroyed the very existence of their brute idols” (Dr J. B. Walker).
And so we might continue.
6. The conduct of the magicians in connection with the plagues is
deserving of notice. It has already been intimated in a previous article that
we have no patience with those who would reduce the miracles wrought by
these men to mere slight-of-hand-deceptions. Not only is there no hint
whatever in the sacred narrative of any deception practiced by them, not
only does the inspired account describe what they wrought in precisely the
same terms as it refers to the wonders performed by Moses and Aaron, but
there are other insuperable objections against the conjuring theory. It is
therefore deeply distressing to find men whose names command respect,
pandering to that rationalism which seeks to deny everything supernatural.
Have such men forgotten those words in

Revelation 16:14 — “they are
the spirits of demons working miracles”!.100
If Jehovah was to make a public display of Himself before the Egyptians
and the Israelites, it was necessary (in the fitness of things) that He should
suffer the sorcerers of Egypt to enter into conflict against Himself. The
magicians, appearing in the name of their gods, were completely routed,
for not only was it evidenced that the power of God working through
Moses was superior to their sorceries, but it was also shown that He was
hostile to them and their idolatrous worship. Three times were the
magicians allowed to display their powers — in the changing of their rods
to serpents (

7:12) in turning water into blood (

7:22), and in bringing
forth frogs (

8:12). Beyond this they did not go. The three things which
they did do were very significant; the first spoke of Satanic power, the
second of death, and the third of pride and uncleanness. Concerning the
fourth plague, we are told, “and the magicians did so with their
enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not”. (

8:18). Here is
further proof that the wonders wrought by the magicians were no mere
feats of legerdemain. If they were really exhibiting slight-of-hand tricks it
would have been far simpler to substitute lice for dust, than it would be to
substitute serpents for nods! The fact that they could not duplicate the
miracle of the lice is proof positive that something more than a conjuring
performance is in view here.
If we bear in mind that these earlier chapters of Exodus bring before us a
symbolic tableau of the great conflict between good and evil, we shall
easily perceive the reason why the Lord permitted Pharaoh’s sorcerers to
work these miracles. They serve to illustrate the activities of Satan, and
this, not only as describing the character of his works, but also, as exposing
both the methods he pursues and the limits of his success. The Devil is ever
an imitator, as the parable of the tares following that of the wheat
(Matthew 13) plainly shows. The aim of Pharaoh was to nullify the
miracles of Moses. The Lord’s servant had performed miracles — very
well, the king would summon his magicians and show that they could do
likewise. This exemplifies an unchanging principle in the workings of
Satan. First, he seeks to oppose with force (persecution, etc.), as he had
the Hebrews by means of their slavery. When lie is foiled here he resorts to
subtler methods, and employs his wiles to deceive. The one is the roaring
of the “lion” (

1 Peter 5:8); the other the cunning of the “serpent”

Genesis 3:1).
There is a striking verse in the New Testament which throws light on the
subject before us. In

2 Timothy 3:8, we read, “Now as Jannes and.101
Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth; men of corrupt
minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” Here we learn the names of two of
the magicians (doubtless the principal ones) who worked miracles in
Egypt. Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses. They did this not by having
him turned out of the king’s palace, not by causing him to be imprisoned or
slain, but by duplicating his works. And, says the Holy Spirit, there are
those now who similarly resist the servants of God — “as Jannes and
Jambres withstood Moses, so do these (the ones mentioned in vv. 5 and 6)
also resist the truth”. This is one of the Divinely-delineated characteristics
of the “perilous times”. The reference is to men (and women)
supernaturally endowed by Satan to work miracles. Such are found to-day,
we believe, not only among Spiritualists and Christian Scientists, hut also
in some of the leaders of the Faith-healing cults. There are men and women
now posing as evangelists of Christ who are attracting large crowds
numbered by the thousand. Their chief appeal is not the message they bear,
but their readiness to “anoint” and pray over the sick. They claim that
“Jesus” (they never own Him as “the Lord Jesus”), in response to their
faith, has through them removed paralysis, healed cancers, given sight to
the blind. When their claims are carefully investigated it is found that most
of the widely-advertised “cures” are impostures. But on the other hand,
there are some cases which are genuine healings, and which cannot he
explained apart from supernatural agency. So it was with the miracles
wrought by the magicians of Pharaoh; though limited by God they did
perform prodigies.
7. These plagues furnished a most striking prophetic forecast of God’s
future judgments upon the world. This is. to us, one of the most
remarkable things connected with God’s judgments upon Egypt. The
analogies furnished between those visitations of Divine wrath of old and
those which the Scriptures predict, and announce for the future, are many
and most minute. We here call attention only to a few of the more striking
ones; the diligent student may discover many more for himself if he will
take the necessary trouble: —
During the Time of Jacob’s Trouble Israel shall again be sorely oppressed
and afflicted (

Isaiah 60:14 and

Jeremiah 30:5-8).
They will cry unto God, and He will hear and answer (

Jeremiah 31:58-
God will command their oppressors to, Let them go (

Isaiah 43:6)..102
God will send two witnesses to work miracles before their enemies

Revelation 11:3-6).
Their enemies will also perform miracles (

Revelation 13:13-15)
God will execute sore judgments upon the world (

Jeremiah 25:15, 16).
God will protect His own people from them (

Revelation 7:4; 12:6,14-
Water will again be turned into blood (

Revelation 8:8; 16:4,5).
Satanic frogs will appear (

Revelation 16:53).
A plague of locusts shall be sent (

Revelation 9:2-Il).
God will send boils and blains (

Revelation 16:2).
Terrible hail-stones shall descend from heaven (

Revelation 8:7).
There shall be awful darkness (

Isaiah 60:2;

Revelation 16:10).
Just as Pharaoh hardened his heart so will the wicked in the day to come

Revelation 9:20,21).
Death will consume multitudes (

Revelation 9:15).
Israel will be delivered (

Zechariah 14:3, 4;

Romans 11:26).
Thus will history repeat itself, and then will it be fully demonstrated that
the plagues of Jehovah upon Egypt of old portended the yet more awful
judgments by which the earth shall be visited in a day now very near at

In our last article we made a number of general observations upon the
judgments which the Lord God sent upon Pharaoh and his people. The
subject is admittedly a difficult one, and little light seems to have been
given on it. This should make us seek more fervently for help from above,
that our eyes may be opened to behold wondrous things in this portion of
the Word. We shall now offer a few remarks upon each plague separately
according to our present understanding of them.
1. The first plague is described in

Exodus 7:14-25 — let the reader turn
to the passage and ponder it carefully. This initial judgment from the Lord
consisted of the turning of the waters into blood. Blood, of course, speaks
of death, and death is the wages of sin. It was, therefore, a most solemn
warning from God to Egypt, a warning which intimated plainly the doom
that awaited those who defied the Almighty. Similarly will God give
warning at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, for then shall the moon
“become as blood” (

Revelation 6:12). The symbolic significance of this
first plague is easily discerned. Water is the emblem of the Word (


Ephesians 5:26), and the water turned to blood reminds us that
the Word is “a savor of death unto death” (

2 Corinthians 2:16) as well
as “of life unto life”.
The striking contrast between this first plague and the first miracle wrought
by the Lord Jesus has been pointed out by others before us. The contrast
strikingly illustrates the great difference there is between the two
“The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus
Christ” (

John 1:17).
All that the Law can do to its guilty transgressor is to sentence him to
death, and this is what the Water turned into blood symbolized. But by the.104
incarnate Word the believing sinner is made to rejoice, and this is what the
turning of the water into wine speaks of.
Before passing on to the next plague we would offer a word of explanation
upon a point which may have troubled some of our readers. The Lord’s
command to Moses was.
“Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod and stretch out thine hand upon the
waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon
their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may
become blood” (

Exodus 7:19).
And yet after this we are told, “And the magicians of Egypt did so with
their enchantments” (v. 22). Where then did they obtain their water? The
answer is evidently supplied in verse 24; “And all the Egyptians digged
round about the river for water to drink”.
2. The second plague is described in

Exodus 8:1-7. An interval of
“seven days” (

7:25) separated this second plague from the first. Full
opportunity was thus given to Pharaoh to repent, before God acted in
judgment again. In view of the fact that the Flood commenced on the
seventh day (see

Genesis 7:10 margin), that is, the holy Sabbath, the
conclusion is highly probable that each of these first two plagues were sent
upon Egypt on the Sabbath day, as a Divine judgment for the Egyptians’
desecration of it.
This second plague, like the former, was Divinely directed against the
idolatry of the Egyptians. The river Nile was sacred in their eyes, therefore
did Jehovah turn its waters into blood. The frog was an object of worship
among them, so God now caused Egypt to be plagued with frogs. Their
ugly shape, their croaking noise, and their disagreeable smell, would make
these frogs peculiarly obnoxious. Their abounding numbers marked the
severity of this judgment. Escape from this scourge was impossible, for the
frogs not only “covered the land of Egypt” but they invaded the homes of
the Egyptians, entered their bed-chambers, and defiled their cooking-utensils.
The moral significance of these “frogs” is explained for us in

16:13 — the only mention of these creatures in the New Testament. There
we read “And I saw three unclean small spirits like frogs come out of the
mouth of the Dragon, and out of the mouth of the Beast, and out of the
mouth of the False Prophet”. Frogs are used to symbolize the Powers of.105
evil and stand for uncleanness. The turning of the waters into blood was a
solemn reminder of the “wages of sin”. The issuing forth of the frogs made
manifest the character of the Devil’s works — uncleanness.
Concerning this second plague we read,
“And the magicians did so with their enchantments and brought
forth frogs upon the land of Egypt” (

This is most suggestive. The magicians were unable to remove the frogs,
nor could they erect any barriers against their encroachments. All they
could do was to bring forth more frogs. Thus it is with the Prince of this
world. He is unable to exterminate the evil which he has brought into
God’s fair creation, and he cannot check its progress. All he can do is to
multiply wickedness.
3. The third plague is described in

Exodus 8:16-19. This judgment
descended without any warning. The dust of the ground suddenly sprang
into life, assuming the most disgusting and annoying form. This blow was
aimed more directly at the persons of the Egyptians. Their bodies covered
with lice, was a sore rebuke to their pride. Herodotus (

2:37) refers to
the cleanliness of the Egyptians: “So scrupulous were the priests on this
point that they used to shave their heads and bodies every third day, for
fear of harboring vermin while occupied in their sacred duties”. As another
has said, “This stroke would therefore humble their pride and stain their
glory, rendering themselves objects of dislike and disgust”.
The key to the moral significance of this third plague lies in the source
from which the lice proceeded. Aaron smote the dust of the land “and it
became lice in man and beast” (

8:16). In the judgment which God
pronounced upon disobedient Adam we read that He said, “Cursed is the
ground for thy sake” (

Genesis 3:17), and again, “for dust thou art, and
unto dust shalt thou return” (

Genesis 3:19). When Aaron smote the
“ground”, and its “dust” became lice, and the lice came upon the
Egyptians, it was a graphic showing-forth of the awful fact that man by
nature is under the curse of a holy God.
Concerning this plague we read, “and the magicians did so with their
enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not” (

8:18). How small
a matter the Lord used to bring confusion upon these magicians! As soon
as God restrained them, they were helpless. Turn water into blood, and
bring forth frogs, they might, by God’s permission; but when He withheld.106
permission they were impotent. Thus it is with Satan himself. His bounds
are definitely prescribed by the Almighty, and beyond them he cannot go.
Death he can inflict (by God’s permission), and uncleanness he can bring
forth freely — as the “magicians” illustrated in the first two plagues; but
with the Curse (which the “dust” becoming lice so plainly speaks of) he is
not allowed to tamper with.
The admission of the magicians on this occasion is noteworthy: “Then the
magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God” (

8:19). These
are their last recorded words. In the end they were obliged to acknowledge
the hand of God. So will it be in the last Great Day with the Devil himself,
and with all his hosts and victims. They, too, will have to bow before the
Lord, and publicly confess the supremacy of the Almighty.
There is a striking correspondency between this third plague and what is
recorded in the eighth chapter of John’s Gospel. There we find a similar
contest — between the Lord and His enemies. The Scribes and the
Pharisees, using the woman taken in adultery as their bait, sought to
ensnare the Savior. His only response was to stoop down and write on the
ground. After saying to them, “He that is without sin among you, let him
first cast a stone at her”, we read that “Again He stooped down and wrote
on the ground”. The effect was startling: “They which heard, being
convicted by their conscience, went out one by one….and Jesus was left
alone, and the woman standing in the midst”. What was this but the enemy
of the Lord acknowledging that it was “the finger of God” as He wrote in
the dust!
4. The next plague is described in

Exodus 8:20-32. This plague marked
the beginning of a new series. In the first three, the magicians had opposed,
but their defeat had been openly manifested. No longer do they appear
upon the stage of action. Another thing which evidences that this fourth
plague begins a new series is the fact that God now made “a division”
between His own people and the Egyptians. The Israelites too had suffered
from the first three judgments, for they also merited the wages of sin, were
subject to the debasing influences of Satan, and were under the curse. But
now that the Lord was about to destroy the property of the Egyptians, He
spared the Israelites.
It will be noted by the student that the words “of flies” are in italics,
supplied by the translators, the word “swarms” being given for the original
term. The Hebrew word signifies, literally, “mixture”, being akin to the.107
term “mixed multitude” in

Exodus 12:38. Apparently these “swarms”
were made up of not only flies, but a variety of insects. As we are told in

Psalm 78:45, “He sent divers sorts of flies”. Moreover, this verse in the
Psalms informs us of their devastating effects — they “devoured them”; the
Hebrew signifying “ate up”. This was, therefore, worse than the plague of
lice. The lice annoyed, but the “divers sorts of flies” preyed upon their
The deeper meaning of this plague may be gathered from the nature of its
effects, and also from the fact that the Israelites were exempted from it.
This judgment had to do with the tormenting of the bodies of the
Egyptians, thus looking forward to the eternal judgment of the lost, when
their bodies shall be tormented forever and ever in the Lake which burneth
with fire and brimstone. In this the people of God will have no part.
5. The next plague is described in

Exodus 9:1-7. This judgment was
directed against the possessions of the Egyptians. A grievous disease smote
their herds so that “all the cattle of Egypt died”. But once more Jehovah
exempted His own people — “of the cattle of the children of Israel died
not one” (

9:6). This afforded a striking demonstration of the absolute
rulership of God. He completely controls every creature He has made.
Disease strikes only when and where He has decreed. The herds of the
Egyptians might be dying all around them, but the cattle of Israel were as
secure as though there had been no epidemic at all.
The spiritual meaning and application of this judgment is not difficult to
perceive. The cattle are man’s servants. He harnesses them to do the
hardest portion of his work. The destruction of all the “horses, asses,
camels, oxen and sheep” of the Egyptians tells us that God will not accept
the labors of the unregenerate — “the plowing of the wicked is sin”

Proverbs 21:4). This world and all its works will yet be burned up —
destroyed as completely as were the beasts of Egypt. The sparing of the
cattle of the Israelites intimates that the works of the new nature in the
believer will “abide” (

1 Corinthians 3:14).
6. The plague of the boils is recorded in

Exodus 9:8-12. Like the third
plague, this one was sent without any warning. Moses was instructed to
take “handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and sprinkle it toward heaven in the
sight of Pharaoh” (

9:8). The definite article implies that some particular
“furnace” is meant, and that Pharaoh was near it, suggests it was no mere
heating apparatus. The Companion Bible says of this furnace: “i.e., one of.108
the altars on which human sacrifices were sometimes offered to propitiate
their god Typhon (the evil Principle). These were doubtless being offered
to avert the plagues, and Moses, using the ashes in the same way produced
another plague instead of averting it.” Just as the previous plague signified
the worthlessness of all the works of the natural man, so this teaches the
utter vanity of his religious exercises.
7. The next plague is described in

Exodus 9:18-35. It marks the
beginning of a third series. We quote from the Numerical Bible; “We are
now, in the third stage, to see, man being what he is, what the attitude of
Heaven must be toward him. The three plagues that follow all distinctly
point to heaven as their place of origin. Here too the rod, which in the last
three, had not been seen, appears again, — a thing which the typical
meaning alone, as it would seem, accounts for. For it will be seen that the
middle plagues, to men, seem scarcely Divine inflictions; they proceed
more from man himself, although, in fact, the government of God may
truly be seen in them. But now we come again, as in the first plagues, to
direct, positive influences”. In other words, the last three plagues brought
out, emblematically, the state of the natural man; the swarms of flies
breeding from filthiness; the murrian (anthrax) of the cattle and the boils on
man, telling of impurities within, which, through the corruption of sin
breaks out in moral diseases; reminding us of that graphic but awful picture
of the sinner drawn by Isaiah —
“From the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no
soundness in it; but wounds and bruises, and putrefying sores”

The severity of this plague is marked by several particulars. It was “a very
grievous hail” (9:18). It was “such as hath not been in Egypt since the
foundation thereof even until now”. The hail was accompanied by an
electric storm of fierce intensity, so that “the fire ran along upon the
ground”. The effects were equally striking: “The hail smote throughout all
the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail
smote every herb of the field and brake every tree of the field”. This
judgment was expressive of the wrath of a holy and sin-hating God. Similar
expressions of His anger will be witnessed during the Great Tribulation —

Revelation 8:7;

8. The eighth plague is recorded in

Exodus 10:1-20. Locusts are one of
the terrors of the East. They prey upon the crops, and consume all.109
vegetation. This plague, coming on the top of the destruction of the cattle,
seriously threatened the food-supplies of Egypt. Referring to this plague,
the Psalmist says,
“He spake and the locusts came, and caterpillars, and that without
number and did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the
fruit of their ground” (

Psalm 105:34, 35).
They came at the bidding of God, and they departed at His bidding. So
does every creature, the feeblest as well as the mightiest, fulfill the secret
counsels of their Creator. In

Joel 2:11, which speaks of a yet future
judgment in the Day of the Lord, the locusts are termed, “His army”.
We are not quite sure about the deeper meaning and spiritual significance
of this eighth plague. It is clear, that like the previous one, it definitely
manifested the wrath of God. But there would seem to be an additional line
of thought suggested by these “locusts”. The second chapter of Joel and
the ninth of Revelation should be carefully studied in this connection. In
these two chapters we have a species of infernal “locusts” brought to our
view. They issue from the Bottomless Pit, and the Anti-Christ, is said to be
their “king”. It would seem then that the plaguing of Pharaoh and the
Egyptians with the “locusts” points to the yet future punishing of the lost in
the company of infernal beings: as the Lord said,
“They shall be cast into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and
his angels” (

Matthew 25:41).
9. The plague of darkness is described in

Exodus 10:21-29.
“In Egypt the sun was worshipped under the title of Ra: the name
came conspicuously forward in the title of the kings, Pharaoh, or
rather Phra, meaning ‘the sun’” (Wilkinson’s “Ancient Egypt”).
“Not only therefore was the source of light and heat eclipsed for
the Egyptians, but the god they worshipped was obscured and his
powerlessness demonstrated — a proof, had they but eyes to see,
that a mightier than the sun, yea the Creator of the sun, was dealing
with them in judgment.” (Ed. Dennett).
This ninth plague formed a fitting climax to the third series. It is easily
interpreted. God is Light: darkness is the withdrawal of light. Therefore,
this judgment of darkness, gave plain intimation that Egypt was now.110
abandoned by God. Nothing remained but death itself. The darkness
continued for three days — full manifestation of God’s withdrawal. So
fearful was this “thick darkness” that the Egyptians “saw not one another,
neither rose any from his place”. Striking is the contrast presented in the
next sentence: “But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.”
This light was as supernatural as the darkness. It emanated, most probably,
from the Shekinah glory. The Egyptians had a darkness which they could
not light up: Israel a light which they could not put out. Thus it is upon
earth to-day. The people of God are “children of light” (

Ephesians 5:8),
because God
“who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in
our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in
the face of Jesus Christ” (

2 Corinthians 4:6).
But “the way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they
stumble” (

Proverbs 4:19), and this because they are “without God in
the world” (

Ephesians 2:12).
The three days of darkness which brooded over the land of Egypt remind
us of the three hours of darkness over all the earth when the Savior hung
upon the cross — outward expression of God’s abandonment. There the
Holy One of God was being “made sin” (

2 Corinthians 5:21) for His
people, and He Who is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not
look upon iniquity” (Hab. 1:13), turned away His face from the One who
was being punished in our stead. It was this turning away of God from Him
which caused the Savior to cry, “My God, my God, why hast Thou
forsaken Me?”.
Finally, this three days of dense darkness upon Egypt utters a solemn
warning for all who are now out of Christ. Unsaved reader, if you continue
in your present course, if you go on slighting the mercy of God, if you
refuse to heed His warning to flee from the wrath to come, you shall be
finally cast into “the outer darkness” (

Matthew 8:12) — the “blackness
of darkness forever” (

Jude 13). Neglect, then, thy soul’s salvation no
longer. Turn even now unto Him who is “the Light of the world”, and in
His light thou shalt see light.
10. The final plague upon Egypt is recorded in Exodus 11 and 12.
Comments upon this we will reserve for our next papers. In this last
plague, the Lord did that to which all the other plagues were logically and.111
irresistibly leading up — the slaying of the first-born. Terrible climax was
this. Disease, desolation, and darkness had visited Pharaoh’s land; now
death itself was to do its work.
The study of these plagues shows plainly the character of Him with whom
we all have to do. The Lord is not indifferent to sin, nor can He be defied
with impugnity. He bears with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath, but
in the end His righteous judgments descend upon them. What point do
these plagues give to that solemn word, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the
hands of the living God” (

Hebrews 10:31)! Be warned, then, dear
reader. Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your heart. Remember
what befell Pharaoh for hardening his! Flee then to the Divinely appointed
Refuge. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved..112
Our plan in this series of papers is not to furnish a verse by verse
exposition of the book of Exodus, but rather to treat its contents topically,
singling out the more important incidents and concentrating our attention
upon them. The most serious disadvantage of this method is, that after we
have followed out one topic to its conclusion, we are obliged to retrace our
steps to begin a new one. Yet, perhaps, this is more than offset by the
simplicity of the present plan and by the help afforded the reader to
remember, substantially, the contents of this second book of Scripture. It is
much easier to fix details in the mind when they are classified and
conveniently grouped. Having gone over the ten plagues, we are now to
contemplate the effect which they had upon Pharaoh. This will require us
to go back to the earlier chapters.
In the course of the revelation which Jehovah made to Moses at the
burning bush, we find Him saying,
“And thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king
of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews
hath met with us; and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’
journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our
God” (

And while Moses was responding to the Divine call, the Lord said unto
him again,
“When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all these
wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand; but I will
harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. And thou shalt
say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, even My
firstborn; And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve
Me” (

In this last-quoted scripture the Lord furnished a reason why He desired
His people to go into the wilderness to serve Him — “Israel is My son, My.113
firstborn”. Two truths were here enunciated. To Israel pertained “the
adoption” (

Romans 9:4). This adoption was not individual (as with us),
but as a nation. The use of this term denoted that Israel had been singled
out as the objects of God’s special favors —
“I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn”

Jeremiah 31:9).
The title of “firstborn” speaks of dignity and excellency (see


Psalm 89:27). Israel will yet occupy the chief place among the
nations, and be no more the “tail”, but the “head”. The place of the
“firstborn”, then, is that of honor and privilege. To the firstborn belonged a
double portion.
The terms of this demand upon Pharaoh call for careful consideration.
First, God had said that His people must go a three days’ journey into the
wilderness that they might “sacrifice to the Lord their God” (

Then the Lord added, “that he (His “firstborn”) may serve Me” (

Finally, when Moses and Aaron delivered their message unto Egypt’s king,
we find them, saying,
“Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let My people go that they
may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness” (

The order of these three statements is very significant. The thought of
“sacrifice” comes first! This is required to avert God’s judgment. Only as
the sinner places blood between himself and the thrice holy God, can he
stand in His august presence. Nothing but simple faith in an accomplished
atonement enables the heart to be quiet before Him. “Without shedding of
blood is no remission (

Hebrews 9:22). Following this, comes service.
None can serve God acceptably till they are reconciled to Him. “Whose I
am, and whom I serve” (

Acts 27:23) is the Divine order. Following
this, comes “the feast”, which speaks of fellowship and gladness. But this
cannot be until the will is broken and the “yoke” has been received — for
this is what true ‘service implies. These three things, in the same beautiful
order are strikingly illustrated in connection with the Prodigal Son. First
the wayward one was reconciled, then he took his proper place — “make
me as one of Thy hired servants”; and then came the feasting, over the
“fatted calf”.
When God’s demand was first presented to Pharaoh, the king repulsed it in
most haughty fashion;.114
“And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice
to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go”

How the “enmity” of the carnal mind is evidenced here! How the awful
depravity of the unregenerate heart was displayed! The natural man knows
not the Lord, neither does he hear or heed His voice. And, too, can we not
clearly discern here the Arch-rebel, the “god of this world”, whom Pharaoh
so strikingly adumbrated? Surely we can; and as we shall yet see, this is by
no means the only trace of the Adversary’s footprints which are to be
detected on the face of this record.
The answer of God to this defiant refusal of Pharaoh was to visit his land
with sore judgments. As pointed out in a previous paper, the first three
plagues fell upon Israel as well as the Egyptians. But in the fourth God
“I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which My people
dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there” (

Exodus 8:22).
This seems to have deeply impressed the king, for now, for the first time,
he pays attention to Jehovah’s demand.
1. “And Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, Go ye, sacrifice to
your God in the land” (

8:25). At first sight it would appear that at last
Pharaoh was amenable to reason, recognizing the futility of fighting against
the Almighty. But a closer glance at his words will show that he was far
from being ready to comply with Jehovah’s requests. God’s command was
couched in no uncertain terms. It called for the complete separation of His
people unto Himself. Three things made this clear.
First, “The God of the Hebrews” said Moses, “hath met with us” (

This title always calls attention to the separate character of His people (cf.

9:1; 9:13;

Second, “Let us go three days’ journey”. From Genesis onwards, the third
day speaks of resurrection. God would have His people completely
delivered from the land of darkness and death.
Third, “Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the
wilderness”, that is, apart from Egypt, which speaks of the world. Only one
sacrifice was offered to the Lord in Egypt, namely, The Passover, and that.115
was to deliver from death in Egypt; all others were reserved for the
tabernacle in the wilderness.
The original response of Pharaoh was,
“Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, hinder the people from their
work? Get you unto your burdens” (

As another has said, This is “typical of the world’s attitude towards
spiritual service. The ‘burdens of Egypt’ are far more important than the
service of the Lord, and even among the Lord’s people Martha finds more
imitators than Mary, so much of Egypt do we all carry with us”.
But now, when the fifth plague fell upon Egypt, Pharaoh said, “Go ye,
sacrifice to your God in the land (

8:25). The Lord had said, A three
days’ journey into the wilderness. Pharaoh temporized. He grants Israel
permission to worship their God; he does not insist that they bow down to
his; but he suggests there is no need for them to be extreme: “sacrifice to
your God in the land”.
This proffer was very subtle and well calculated to deceive one who was
not acquainted with the character of God.
“It might with great plausibility and apparent force, be argued: Is it
not uncommonly liberal on the part of the king of Egypt to offer
you toleration for your peculiar mode of worship? Is it not a great
stretch of liberality to offer your religion a place on the public
platform? Surely you can carry on your religion here as well as
other people. There is room for all. Why this demand for
separation? Why not take common ground with your neighbors?
There ~s no need, surely, for such extreme narrowness.” (C.H.M.)
Writing to the Corinthians, the apostle said, “We are not ignorant of his
(Satan’s) devices” (

2 Corinthians 2:11). Nor need any Christian be with
the Word of Truth in his hands. One merciful reason why God has given to
us the Scriptures is to inform us of Satan’s wiles, uncover his subtility and
expose his methods of attack. They are to be sought not only in those
verses where he is referred to by name, but also in passages where he is
only to be discovered working behind the scenes. Referring to some
incidents in the history of Israel, the apostle declared,.116
“Now all these things happened unto them for types; and they are
written for our admonition” (

1 Corinthians 10:11).
In the light of these scriptures, then, we are fully justified in regarding these
compromises of Pharaoh as samples of the temptations which the Devil
now brings to bear upon the people of God.
“Sacrifice to your God in the land”, that is, Egypt. And Egypt represents
the world. But God’s people have been delivered “from this present evil
world” (

Galatians 1:4). Said the Lord to His apostles,
“Ye are not of this world, but I have chosen you out of the world”.

John 15:19).
And again,
“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world”.

John 17:14).
“The friendship of the world is enmity with God” (

James 4:4),
how then can believers worship God “in the land”? They cannot. God must
be worshipped “in spirit and in truth” (

John 4:24), and to worship God
“in spirit” means to worship Him through the new nature. It means to take
our place, by faith, outside of the world which crucified the Son of God! It
means “going forth without the camp, bearing His reproach” (

13:13). It means being separated, in spirit, from all that is of the flesh.
This is just what Satan hates. He aims to get the believer to mix the world
and the church. Alas! how well he has succeeded. Professing Christians
have, for the most part, so assimilated their worship to Egyptian patterns,
that instead of being hated by the world, they have taught the men of the
world to join in with them. Thus far has the offense of the cross ceased. Of
few indeed can it now be said, “the world knoweth us not, because it knew
Him not (

1 John 3:1).
Insidious was Pharaoh’s proposal. Moses was not deceived by it. His
answer was prompt and uncompromising:
“And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the
abomination of the Egyptians to the Lord our God: lo, shall we
sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes and will
they not stone us?” (

It is not meet or proper for God’s people to worship Him in the midst of
His enemies:
“Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord”

2 Corinthians 6:17)
has ever been His demand. Moreover, to worship God “in the land” would
be to “sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians”. Light is thrown upon
this expression by what we are told in

Genesis 46:34 — “For every
shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians”. If every “shepherd” was
an abomination to the Egyptians, certainly to present a lamb in sacrifice to
God would be equally abominable to them. Nor have things changed since
then. Christ crucified — which condemns the flesh, and makes manifest the
total depravity of man — is still a “stumbling-block”. Again; “shall we
sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not
stone us?” Press upon men the Divine need of the Cross — God’s
judgment of sin (

Romans 8:3) ; announce that by the Cross of Christ
believers are crucified to the world (

Galatians 6:14), and the world’s
enmity is at once aroused. Said the Lord Jesus,
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but
because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the
world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I
said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have
persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My
saying, they will keep yours also” (

John 15:19, 20).
One more reason Moses gave why he would not accept Pharaoh’s
“We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to
the Lord our God, as He shall command us” (

Here Moses reveals the real point of the Enemy’s attack — it was the
Word of God which he sought to neutralize. The Lord had said “in the
wilderness”. To have worshipped God ‘in the land” would, therefore, have
been rank disobedience. When God has spoken, that settles the matter. No
room is left for debating or reasoning. It is vain for us to discuss and
dispute. Our duty is to submit. The Word itself must regulate our worship
and service, as well as everything else. Human opinions, human traditions,
custom, convenience, have nothing to do with it. Divine revelation is our
only Court of Appeal..118
2. His first compromise firmly repulsed, Pharaoh resorts to another, even
more subtle.
“And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the
Lord your God in the wilderness”. (

Ah, that sounded promising. It appeared as though the king was now ready
to yield. But mark well his closing and qualifying words — “only ye shall
not go very far away”. Pharaoh was ready to lengthen the chain, but it was
still a chain. Complete liberty he was not ready to grant the Israelites. The
point at issue was the complete separation of God’s people from Egypt
(the world), and this Pharaoh (representing Satan) contested to the bitter
“Only ye shall not go very far away” is one of the favorite and most
successful of the Devil’s temptations. Avoid extremes; do not be fanatical;
be sane and sensible in your religious life; beware of becoming narrow-minded,
are so many different ways of expressing the same thing. If you
really must be a Christian, do not let it spoil your life. There is no need to
cut loose from your old friends and associations. God does not want you to
be long-faced and miserable. Why then abandon pleasures and recreations
innocent in themselves? With such whisperings Satan beguiles many a soul.
Young believers especially need to be on the guard here.
“Not very far away” is incompatible with the first law of the Christian life.
The very purpose for which the Lord sent Moses to Pharaoh was to lead
His people out of Egypt, and to bring them into the land of Canaan. And in
this Moses was a type of the Lord Jesus. The Son of God left heaven for
earth that He might take a people from earth to heaven. — bring them
there first in spirit and heart, later in person. Set your affection upon things
above (

Colossians 3:1) is God’s call to His children. “Holy (separated)
brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling” (

Hebrews 3:1) is one of our
many titles, and Heaven is “very far away’ from the world! Separation
from this world in our interests, our affections, our ways, is the first law of
the Christian life.
“Love not the world, neither the things which are in the world. If
any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him”

1 John 2:15).
But bow can the Christian be happy if he turns his back upon all that
engaged his mind and heart in the unregenerate days? The answer is very.119
simple: By being occupied with that which imparts a deeper, fuller, more
lasting and satisfying joy than anything which this poor world has to offer.
By being absorbed with the infinite perfections of Christ. By meditating
upon the precious promises of the Word. By serving the Lord. By
ministering to the needy. God did not propose to bring His people out of
Egypt and give them nothing in return. He would lead them into the
wilderness in order that they might “hold a feast unto the Lord”. True, the
“feast” (fellowship) is now “in the wilderness”, but the wilderness is
Heaven begun when we are delighting ourselves with Christ; in His
presence there is “fullness of joy”.
After all, Pharaoh was only dissembling. As soon as the plague of flies was
removed, he “hardened his heart neither would he let the people go”

8:32). But he reckoned without God. Heavier judgments were now
sent upon his land, which brought the king to his knees, yet not in genuine
repentance and submission.
3. “And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh; and he said
unto them, Go, serve the Lord your God; but who are they that shall go?
And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our
sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we
go; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord. And he said unto them, Let the
Lord be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones; look to it; for
evil is before you. Not so; go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord; for
that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence”

Exodus 10:8-11).
This was surely a cunning wile of Satan — professing willingness to let the
men go if they would but leave their little ones behind in Egypt’ Thereby he
would have falsified the testimony of the Lord’s redeemed ones, and
retained a most powerful hold upon them through their natural affections.
For how could they have done with Egypt as long as their children were
there? Satan knew this, and hence the character of this temptation. And
how many Christians there are who become entangled in this snare!
Professing to be the Lord’s, to have left Egypt, they allow their families to
remain behind. As another has said,
“Parents in the wilderness, and their children in Egypt — terrible
anomaly! This would only have been a half deliverance; at once
useless to Israel, and dishonoring to Israel’s God. This could not
be. If the children remained in Egypt, the parents could not possibly.120
be said to have left it, inasmuch as their children were part of
themselves. The most that could be said in such a case was, that in
part they were serving Jehovah, and in part Pharaoh. But Jehovah
could have no part with Pharaoh. He should either have all or
nothing. This is a weighty principle for Christian parents It is our
happy privilege to count on God for our children and to bring them
up in the nurture of the Lord! These admirable words should be
deeply pondered in the presence of God. For nowhere does our
testimony so manifestly break down as in our families. Godly
parents, whose walk is blameless, are seduced into permitting their
children practices which they would not for one moment allow in
themselves, and thus to flood their houses with the sounds and
sights of Egypt” (Ed. Dennett).
Be a Christian, says Satan, if you really must, but do not force religion
upon the members of your family, and especially do not tease your children
with it. They are too young to understand such things. Let them be happy
now; time enough for serious concerns when they grow up. If you press
spiritual things upon them today, you will nauseate them, and drive them to
infidelity. Thus the Devil argues, and only too many professing Christians
heed his siren voice. Family discipline is relaxed, the Scriptures are not
given their proper place, the children are allowed to chose their own
companions, and no real effort is made to bring them out of Egypt.
The training of children is a most solemn responsibility, and in these days
of laxity and lawlessness, an increasingly serious problem. No little grace is
needed to defy the general trend of our day, and to take a firm stand. But
the Word of God is plain and pointed. “Train up a child in the way he
should go” (

Proverbs 22:6). For this the parent needs to be daily cast
upon God, seeking wisdom and strength each hour from Him. The
“training” cannot start too early. Just as a wise gardener begins, while the
trees are young and tender to train the branches along the wall, so should
we begin with our children in their most tender years. God has declared,
“Them that honor Me, I will honor” (

1 Samuel 2:20). The first lines the
Christian’s children should be taught are not nursery rhymes and fairy tales,
but short and appropriate verses of Scripture. The first truths which need
to be pressed upon the little one are the claims that God has upon all His
creatures — that He should be revered, loved, obeyed. That the child is a
lost sinner, in need of a Savior, cannot be taught him too early. If it be
objected that he is too young to understand such things, the answer is,.121
Salvation does not come to any through understanding, but — through
FAITH, and faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
And to give the children God’s Word is the binding and daily duty of every
parent. You cannot lawfully transfer this duty to someone else. Not the
Sunday-School teacher but the parent is the one whom God holds
responsible to teach the children.
“While on this subject of training children, we would, in true
brotherly love, offer a suggestion to all Christian parents, as to the
immense importance of inculcating a spirit of implicit obedience. If
we mistake not, there is a very widespread failure in this respect,
for which we have to judge ourselves before God. Whether through
a false tenderness, or indolence, we suffer our children to walk
according to their own will and pleasure, and the strides which they
make along this road are alarmingly rapid. They pass from stage to
stage, with more than railroad speed, until at length they reach the
terrible goal of despising their parents altogether, throwing their
authority entirely overboard, and trampling beneath their feet the
holy order of God, and turning the domestic circle into a scene of
godless misrule and confusion.
“How dreadful this is we need not say, or how utterly opposed to
the mind of God, as revealed in His Holy Word. But have we not
ourselves to blame for it? God has put into the parent’s hands the
reins of government and the rod of authority; but if parents through
indolence suffer the reins to drop from their hands, and if through
false tenderness or moral weakness, the rod of authority is not
applied, need we marvel if the children grow up in utter
lawlessness? How could it be otherwise? Children are, as a rule,
very much what we make them. If they are made to be obedient,
they will be so; and if they are allowed to have their own way, the
result will be accordingly” (C.H.M.)
Here, then, in part at least, is what is signified by the believer leaving his
children behind in Egypt. It is permitting them to have their own way. It is
allowing them to be “conformed to this world”. It is bringing them up
without the fear of God upon them. It is neglecting their soul’s interests. It
is ignoring the command of God to
“bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”

Ephesians 6:4)..122
It is failure to follow in the steps of “our father Abraham,” of whom the
Lord said.
“For I know him, that he will command his children, and his
household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord”

Genesis 18:19).
The standard which God sets before Christian parents now is certainly not
a lower one than what He placed before Israel of old, and to them He said,
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine
heart; And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and
shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou
walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou
riseth up” (

Deuteronomy 6:6,7).
May Divine grace be earnestly sought and freely granted those of our
readers who are fathers and mothers to enable them to turn a deaf ear to
Satan who pleads that the little ones may be left behind in Egypt!
4. “And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the Lord; only
let your flocks and your herds be stayed” (

Exodus 10:24).
“With what perseverance did Satan dispute every inch of Israel’s
way out of the land of Egypt! He first sought to keep them in the
land, then to keep them near the land, next, to keep pert of
themselves in the land, and finally, when he could not succeed in
any of these three, he sought to send them forth without any ability
to serve the Lord. If he could not keep the servants, he would seek
to keep their ability to serve, which would answer much the same
end. If he could not induce them to sacrifice in the land, he would
send them out of the land without sacrifices”! (C.H.M.)
“And Pharaoh called unto Moses and said, Go ye, serve the Lord, only let
your flocks and your herds be stayed”. This was Pharaoh’s last
compromise. Mark the word “only” again! The distraction of a divided
heart, the vain effort to serve two masters, the miserable attempt to make
the best of both worlds are suggested here. Demas was caught in this snare

2 Timothy 4:10); so also were Ananias and Sapphira. The danger is
very real. Where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also (

6:21). If our possessions remain in Egypt, so will our affections..123
The application of the spiritual principle contained in this fourth
compromise is not hard to discover. The flocks and herds of this pastoral
people constituted the principle part of what they owned down here. They
speak then of our earthly possessions. The issue raised is whether or not
God has a title to all that we have. In the light of the Word the issue is
decisively settled. Nothing that we have is really ours: all is committed to
us as stewards. And it is right here that so many of us fail. “Give yourselves
to God if you must; but do not consecrate your possessions to His service”
is the Devil’s final plea. And multitudes of professing Christians heed it.
Look at the wealth of those who bear the name of Christ. How it has piled
up! And where is it all? Surely in Egypt! How much of it is held as a sacred
trust for Christ?. Is not the greater part of it used to gratify self! Of old,
God charged His people with robbing Him of His tithes and offerings

Malachi 3:8). And the same charge can justly be laid against most of us
The answer made by Moses, to this temporizing of Pharaoh is very
“And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt
offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God. Our cattle
also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for
thereof must we take to serve the Lord our God; and we know not
with what we must serve the Lord until we come thither”

10:25, 26).
Observe two things; “Not an hoof” must be left behind. The spiritual
application of this is far reaching. We may place our money at the Lord’s
disposal but reserve our time for ourselves. We may be ready to pray hut
not to labor; or labor and not pray. “Not an hoof” means, that all that I
have and am is held at the disposal of the Lord. Finally, it is striking to
observe that Israel would not know the full Divine claims upon their
responsibility until they reached the wilderness. The mind of God could not
be discerned so long as they remained in Egypt!
We might easily have enlarged upon these compromises of Pharaoh at
much greater length, but sufficient has been said, we trust, to put each
Christian reader upon his guard against the specious temptations which the
great Enemy of souls constantly brings to bear upon us. Let us faithfully
recognize the fullness of God’s claims upon us, and then seek daily grace
to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we have been called..124

The contest between Pharaoh and Jehovah was almost ended. Abundant
opportunity had been given the king to repent him of his wicked defiance.
Warning after warning and plague after plague had been sent. But Egypt’s
ruler still “hardened his heart”. One more judgment was appointed, the
heaviest of them all, and then not only would Pharaoh “let” the people go,
but he would thrust them out. Then would be clearly shown the folly of
fighting against God. Then would be fully demonstrated the uselessness of
resisting Jehovah. Then would be made manifest the impotence of the
creature and the omnipotence of The Most High.
“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel
of the Lord, that shall stand. (

Proverbs 19:21.)
“For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it?
and His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”

Isaiah 14:27).
No matter though it be the king of the most powerful empire upon earth,
“Those that walk in pride God is able to abase” (

Daniel 4:21.) Pharaoh
might ask in haughty defiance, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His
voice to let Israel go?” He might blatantly declare, “I know not the Lord,
neither will I let Israel go” (

5:2). But now the time had almost arrived
when he would be glad to get rid of that people whose God had so sorely
troubled him and his land. As well might a worm seek to resist the tread of
an elephant as for the creature to successfully defy the Almighty. God can
grind to powder the hardest heart, and bring down to the dust the
haughtiest spirit.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more
upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go
hence; when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence
altogether” (

“One plague more”. The severest of them all was this, directed as it was
against ‘the chief of their strength” (

Psalm 78:51). A mightier king than
Pharaoh would visit the land of Egypt that night. The “king of terrors”
would lay his unsparing hand upon the firstborn. And with all their wisdom
and learning Pharaoh and his people would be helpless. The magicians
were of no avail in such an emergency. There was no withstanding the
Angel of Death! Neither wealth nor science could provide deliverance.
Those in the palace were not one whit more secure than the occupants of
the humblest cottage. Longsuffering God had surely shown Himself, but
now His holy anger was to burst forth with irresistible might, and bitter and
widespread would be the resulting lamentations.
“Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of
his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver,
and jewels of gold” (

This and the verse that follows are to be regarded as a parenthesis. The
night on which the first-born were slain came between the fourteenth and
fifteenth days of the month Nisan. And yet in

12:3 we find the Lord
telling Moses to instruct Israel to take them every man a lamb on the tenth
day of the month. Similarly, here in Exodus is, the body of the chapter is
concerned with what took place on the Passover night, verses 2 and 3
coming in parenthetically as a brief notice of what had happened
That which is recorded in verse 2 has been seized upon by enemies of
God’s truth and made the ground of an ethical objection. The word
“borrow” implies that the article should later be returned. But there was no
thought of the Israelites giving back these “jewels” to the Egyptians. From
this it is argued that God was teaching His people to practice deception
and dishonesty. But all ground for such an objection is at once swept away
if the Hebrew word here translated “borrow” be rendered correctly. The
Hebrew word is “Sha´al”. It occurs 168 times in the Old Testament, and
162 times it is translated “ask, beg or require”. The Septuagint (the Greek
translation of the O.T. f.) gives “aites” (ask). Jeromes’ Latin version
renders it by “postulabit” (ask, request). The German translation by Luther
reads “Fordern” (demand). The mistake has been corrected by the English
Revisers, who give “ask” rather than “borrow
While the substitution of ‘ask” for “borrow removes all ground for the
infidel’s objection that Israel were guilty of a fraudulent transaction, there.126
is still a difficulty remaining — felt by many a devout mind. Why should
the Lord bid His people “ask” for anything from their enemies? In receiving
from the Egyptians, they were but taking what was their own. For long
years had the Hebrews toiled in the brick-kilns. Fully, then, had they earned
what they now asked for. Lawfully were they entitled to these jewels. Yet
we believe that the real, more satisfactory answer, lies deeper than this.
Every thing here has a profound typical meaning. The world is greatly
indebted to the presence of God’s people in it. Much, very much, of the
benevolence practiced by the unregenerate is the outcome of this. Our
charitable institutions, our agencies for relieving suffering, are really
byproducts of Christianity: hospitals, and poor-houses are unknown in
lands where the light of the Gospel has not shone! When, then, God took
His people out of Egypt He made its inhabitants feel the resultant loss. In
like manner when the saints are all raptured at the descent of Christ into
the air, the world will probably be made to feel that all true blessing and
enlightenment has departed from it.
“And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians”

This was the fulfillment of the promise made by the Lord to Moses at the
burning bush:
“And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and
it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty”

And it was also the fulfillment of one of the promises which Jehovah made
to Abraham four hundred years earlier:
“And also that nation, whom they shall serve will I judge: and
afterward shall they come out with great substance” (

This is very blessed. No word of God can fail. For many long years the
Hebrews had been a nation of slaves, and as they toiled in the brick-kilns
there were no outward signs that they were likely to leave Egypt “with
great substance”. But the people of God are not to walk by sight, but by
faith. How this fulfillment of God’s ancient promise to Abraham should
show the certainty of Him making good all His promises to us!.127
“And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians”

11:3). Herein Jehovah manifested His absolute sovereignty. From the
natural standpoint there was every reason why the Egyptians should hate
the Israelites more than ever. Not only were they, as a pastoral people, an
“abomination unto the Egyptians” (

Genesis 46:34), but it was the God
of the Hebrews who had so severely plagued them and their land. It was
therefore due alone to God’s all-mighty power, moving upon the hearts of
the Egyptians which caused them to now regard His people with favor.
Similar examples are furnished by the eases of Joseph and Potiphar

Genesis 39:3), Joseph and the prison-keeper (

Genesis 39:21) Daniel
and his master (

Daniel 1:9) etc. Let us learn from these passages that
when we receive kindness from the hands of the unregenerate it is because
Gad has given us favor in their sight.
“And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go
out into the midst of Egypt”, (

Moses was still in the Court. Chapter

11:1, 4 should be read straight on

10:28, 29. The seeming interval between the two chapters
disappears if we read

11:1 (as the Hebrew fully warrants) “the Lord had
said unto Moses.” God’s servant, then, was still in Pharaoh palace, though
the king and his courtiers were unable to see him because of the “thick
darkness” which enveloped the land of Egypt. If further proof be required
for this the 8th verse of our chapter supplies it, for there we read, “And all
these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves
unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow me: and after
that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger”. The
fourteenth day of Nisan had arrived, and after delivering the Divine
ultimatum, Moses left forever the palace of the Pharaohs’.
“And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go
out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of
Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his
throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the
mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry
throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor
shall be like it anymore”. (

How this reminds us of that solemn word in

Romans 11:22,.128
“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them
which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness!”
In exempting His own people from this heavy stroke of judgment we
behold the “goodness” of the Lord; in the slaying of all the firstborn of the
Egyptians we see His “severity”. But why, it may be asked, should the
“firstborn” be destroyed? At least a twofold answer may be returned to
this. It commonly happens that in the governmental dealings of God the
sins of the fathers are visited upon the children. In the second place,

Romans 9:22 teaches us that the “vessels of wrath” are made by God
for the express purpose of showing His wrath and making known His
power. The slaying of the children rather than their parents served to
accomplish this the more manifestly. Again, the death of the first born was
a representative judicial infliction. It spoke of the judgment of God coming
upon all that is of the natural man; the firstborn like “the first-fruits” being
a sample of all the rest. But why slay the firstborn of all the Egyptians,
when Pharaoh only was rebellious and defiant? Answer: It is clear from

Exodus 14:17 that the rank and the of the Egyptians were far from
being guiltless.
“But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue
against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a
difference between the Egyptians and Israel (

11:7). Marvelous example
was this of the absolute sovereignty of Divine grace. As we shall yet see,
the Israelites, equally with the Egyptians, fully merited the wrath of God. It
was not because of any virtue or excellence in them that the Hebrews were
spared. They, too, had sinned and come short of the glory of God. It was
simply according to His own good pleasure that God made this difference:.
“For He saith to Moses I will have mercy on whom I will have
mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have
compassion” (

Romans 9:15).
And this was no isolated instance. It was characteristic of the ways of God
in every age. It is the same today. Some are in Christ; many are out of
Christ: sovereign grace alone has made the difference. There can be only
one answer to the apostle’s question” who maketh thee to differ from
another?” (

1 Corinthians 4:7) — it is God. It is not because our hearts
(by nature) are more tender, more responsive to the Holy Spirit, than the
hearts of unbelievers; it is not that our wills are more pliable and less
stubborn. Nor is it because of any superior mental acumen which enabled.129
us to see our need of a Savior. No; grace, distinguishing grace, sovereign
grace, is the discriminating cause. Then let us see to it that we give God all
the glory for it!
“But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue”.
Striking proof was this that every creature is beneath the direct control of
the great Creator! It was nighttime when the Angel of death executed
God’s sentence. Moreover, “thick darkness” shrouded the land. On every
side was the weeping and howling of the Egyptians, as they discovered that
their firstborn had been smitten down. Moreover, there was the movement
of the Israelites, as by their hundreds of thousands they proceeded to leave
the land of bondage. There was, then, every reason why the “dogs” should
bark and howl, yea, why they should rush upon the Hebrews. But not a
single dog moved his tongue! An invisible Hand locked their jaws. Just as
Babylon’s lions were rendered harmless by God, when Daniel was cast into
their den, so Egypt’s dogs were stricken dumb when Jehovah’s people set
out for the promised land. What comfort and assurance is there here for the
believer to-day. Not so much as a fly can settle upon you without the
Creator’s bidding, any more than the demons could enter the herd of swine
until Christ gave them permission.
It now remains for us to say something about the spiritual condition of this
people here so signally favored of God. Comparatively little is told us in
the earlier chapters of Exodus concerning the relations which Abraham’s
descendants sustained toward Jehovah, but one or two details of
information are supplied in the later scriptures. We propose, then, to bring
these together that we may contemplate, briefly, the picture which they
furnish us of the moral state of the Children of Israel at the time that the
Lord delivered them from the House of Bondage.
In Leviticus 17:7 we read,
“And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto demons unto
whom they have gone a whoring”.
Mark the words “no more”: the implication is plain that previously to
coming out into the wilderness, Israel had practiced idolatry. Plainer still is

Joshua 24:14,
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in
truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the
other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord”..130
Here we learn that the patriarchs served false gods before Jehovah called
them, and that their descendants did the same thing in Egypt.
“In the day that I lifted up my hand unto them, to bring them forth
of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing
with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; Then said I
unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes,
and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord
your God. But they rebelled against Me, and would not hearken
unto Me; they did not every man cast away the abominations of
their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt; then I said, I
will pour out My fury upon them, to accomplish My anger against
them, in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I wrought for My
name’s sake that it should not be polluted before the heathen,
among whom they were, in whose sight I made Myself known unto
them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt”

Ezekiel 20:6-9).
Very pointed is this, supplying us with information that is not furnished in
the book of Exodus.
First, this passage tells us that Israel worshiped the idols of Egypt.
Second, it shows how God expostulated with them.
Third, it informs us that Israel heeded not God’s reproval, but instead,
blatantly defied Him.
Fourth, it intimates how that the earlier plagues were also visitations
of judgment upon the Hebrews, as well as the Egyptians.
Fifth, it shows that the Lord delivered Israel, not because of any
worthiness or fitness He found in them, but simply for His name’s sake.
As we turn to the book of Exodus — everything in it being typical in its
significance — we find how accurately the physical condition of the
Israelites symbolized their spiritual state.
First, they are seen in bondage, at the mercy of a cruel king, — apt
portrayal of the condition of the natural man, the “captive” of the Devil

2 Timothy 2:26)..131
Second, we read that they “sighed by reason of their bondage, and they
cried” (

2:23). But nothing is said about them crying unto God! They
were conscious of their hard lot, but not yet did they know the Source
from which their deliverance must proceed. How like the natural man,
when he is first awakened by the Holy Spirit! His spiritual wretchedness,
his lost condition, make him to sigh and groan, but as yet he is
unacquainted with the Deliverer. Beautiful is it to mark what follows in
2:23: “And their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage”. Yes,
God heard their cry, even though it was not addressed to Himself. And
God “remembered His covenant”. Ah, that was the ground of His action.
Not their faith, for they had none. Nor was it pity for their wretchedness,
for there were many others in different parts of the earth equally wretched,
whom God ignored. God had respect to them for His covenant’s sake. And
it was precisely thus with us, Christian readers. God made a covenant with
Christ before the foundation of the world and it was this, which made Him
have “respect” unto us!
And what do we next read of in Exodus? This: that all unknown to the
enslaved and groaning Israelites, God had raised up for them a savior.
Exodus 3 records the appearing of Jehovah to Moses at the burning bush,
and the appointing of him to be the deliverer of God’s people. But at that
time Israel knew it not; they were in total ignorance of the wondrous grace
which God had in store for them. How truly accurate the picture!. When
we were first made conscious of our woeful condition, when our
consciences groaned beneath the intolerable load of guilt, at that time we
knew nothing of God’s appointed Deliverer.
Next we are told of the Lord sending Aaron into the wilderness to meet his
brother, and together they entered Egypt, gather the elders of Israel, and
tell them of God’s promised deliverance. We are told,
“And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had
visited the children of Israel, and that He had looked upon their
affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped” (

But it is clear from what follows that this was not a genuine heart
believing, and their worship was evidently very superficial. Nor does the
analogy fail us here. How many of us became very religious when the
Deliverer was first presented to our view! But, alas, how superficial was
our response!.132
The sequel is very striking! As soon as Pharaoh learned of God’s intentions
toward Israel he at once increases their burdens and says, “Let more work
be laid upon the men” (

5:9). How clearly Pharaoh foreshadows Satan
here! As soon as the great Enemy of souls discerns the spirit of God
commencing His operations of grace within the sinner, he makes the
spiritual lot of that one more miserable than ever. He sets the poor soul to
work the harder. He tells such an one that he must labor with increased zeal
if ever he is to find favor with God. “They were in evil case” says the
record (5:12), and so is the poor guilt-burdened, conscience-smitten,
convicted sinner.
Next, we read that the people came to Moses complaining of their
increased misery. Even now they did not put their trust in the Lord, but
instead, leaned upon the arm of flesh. So, too, the convicted sinner — with
very rare exceptions — instead of turning at once to Christ for relief, seeks
out the sunday-school teacher, the evangelist, or the pastor. Similarly did
the “prodigal son” act. When he “began to be in want”, he did not return at
once to the Father, but “went and joined himself to a citizen of that
country”. How slow, how pathetically slow, is man to learn the great truth
that God alone is able to meet his deep, deep need!
Moses sought the Lord, and the Lord in tender patience bade His servant
to go unto the Israelites and say,
“I am the Lord and I will bring you out from under the burdens of
the Egyptians, and I will rid you of their bondage, and I will redeem
you with stretched out arm, and with great judgments; And I will
take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye
shall know that I am the Lord your God. which bringeth you out
from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will bring you in
unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to
Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an
heritage: I am the Lord” (

Wondrous grace was this! Sad indeed is what follows
“And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel, but they
hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel
bondage” (v. 9).
How this goes to show that their earlier bowing down and “worshipping”

4:31) was merely an evanescent thing of the moment. And again we.133
say, How true to life is the picture presented here! While Israel groaned
under the burdens of the brick-kilns of Egypt, even the promises of God
failed to give relief. So it was with each of us. While we continued to
justify ourselves by our own works, while we sought to weave a robe of
righteousness by our own hands, even the promises of the Gospel failed to
comfort us. Ah, it is not until the soul turns away from everything of self
and puts his trust alone in the Finished Work of Christ, that peace will be
“To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the
ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (

Romans 4:5).
“And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not
unto Moses for anguish of spirit and for cruel bondage”. This is the last
thing which we are told about the Israelites before the Angel of Death
visited the land of Egypt. How clear it is then, that when the Lord “put a
difference between the Egyptians and the Israelites” it was not because of
any merit which He discovered in the latter. They, too, were idolaters,
rebellious and unbelieving. The more clearly we perceive the spiritual
wretchedness of Israel at this time, the more shall we recognize the
absolute sovereignty of that grace which redeemed them. So, too, the more
fully we are acquainted with the teaching of Scripture concerning the utter
corruption and total depravity of the natural man, the more shall we be
made to marvel at the infinite mercy of God toward such worthless
creatures, and the more highly shall we value that wondrous love that
wrought salvation for us. May the Holy Spirit impart to us an ever-deepening
realization of the terrible extent to which sin has “abounded”,
and make us perceive with ever-increasing gratitude and joy the “super-abounding”
of grace..134


Exodus 11:4-7 we read,
“Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of
Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the
firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the
firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the
firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the
land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it
anymore. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog
move his tongue against man or beast, that ye may know how that
the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel”.
Notice carefully the exact wording of verse 5: it was not “all the firstborn
of the land of Egypt shall die, but “all the firstborn in the land of Egypt”.
This Divine sentence of judgment included the Israelites equally with the
Egyptians. Yet in the seventh verse we are told “not a dog shall move his
tongue against any of the children of Israel, for the Lord “put a difference
between the Egyptians and Israel”. Here is what the infidel would call ‘a
flat contradiction!’ But as we are fully assured that there can be no
contradictions in “the Word of Truth”, so we know there must be an
interpretation which brings out the harmony of this passage. What that is,
no mere human wisdom could have devised. The sentence of universal
condemnation proceeded from the righteousness of God; the “difference”
which He put between the Egyptians and Israel was the outflow of His
grace. But how can justice and mercy be reconciled? How can justice exact
its full due without excluding mercy? How can mercy be manifested except
at the expense of justice? This is really the problem that is raised here. The
solution of it is found in Exodus 12. All the firstborn in the land of Egypt
did die, and yet the firstborn of Israel were delivered from the Angel of
Death! But how could this be? Surely both could not be true. Yes they.135
were, and therein we may discover a blessed illustration and type of the
contents of the Gospel.
Exodus 12 records the last of the ten plagues. This was the death of the
firstborn, and inasmuch as death is “the wages of sin”, we have no
difficulty in perceiving that it is the question of SIN which is here raised
and dealt with by God. This being the case, both the Egyptians and the
Israelites alike were obnoxious to His righteous judgment, for both were
sinners before Him. This was dealt with at some length in our last paper. In
this respect the Egyptians and the Israelites were alike: both in nature and
in practice they were sinners. “There is no difference: for all have sinned
and come short of the glory of God (

Romans 3:22, 23). It is true that
God had purposed to redeem Israel out of Egypt, but He would do so only
on a righteous basis. Holiness can never ignore sin, no matter where it is
found. When the angels sinned God “spared them not” (

2 Peter 2:4).
The elect are “children of wrath even as others” (

Ephesians 2:3). God
made no exception of His own blessed Son: when He was “made sin for
us” (

2 Corinthians 5:21) — He spared Him not (

Romans 8:32).
But all of this only seems to make the problem more impossible of solution.
The Israelites were sinners: their guilt was irrefutably established: a just
God can “by no means clear the guilty” (

Exodus 34:7): sentence of
death was passed upon them (

Exodus 11:5). Nothing remained but the
carrying out of the sentence. A reprieve was out of the question. Justice
must be satisfied; sin must be paid its wages. What, then? Shall Israel perish
after all? It would seem so. Human wisdom could furnish no solution. No;
but man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and He did find a solution.
“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (

Romans 5:20),
and yet grace was not shown at the expense of righteousness. Every
demand of justice was satisfied, every claim of holiness was fully met. But
how? By means of a substitute. Sentence of death was executed, but it fell
upon an innocent victim. That which was “without blemish” died in the
stead of those who had “no soundness” (

Isaiah 1:6) in them. The
“difference” between the Egyptians and Israel was not a moral one, but
was made solely by the blood of the pascal lamb! It was in the blood of the
Lamb that mercy and truth met together and righteousness and peace
kissed each other (

Psalm 85:10).
The whole value of the blood of the pascal lamb lay in its being a type of
the Lord Jesus — “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us.136
keep the feast” (

1 Corinthians 5:7, 8). Here is Divine authority for our
regarding the contents of Exodus 12 as typical of the Cross-work of our
blessed Savior. And it is this which invests every detail of our chapter with
such deep interest. May our eyes be anointed so that we shall be able to
perceive some, at least, of the precious unfoldings of the truth which are
typically set forth in our chapter.
The first great truth to lay hold of here is what we are told in the 11th
verse: “It is the Lord’s passover”. This emphasizes a side of the truth
which is much neglected to-day in evangelical preaching. Gospellers have
much to say about what Christ’s death accomplished for those who believe
in Him, but very little is said about what that Death accomplished
Godwards. The fact is that the death of Christ glorified God if never a
single sinner had been saved by virtue of it. Nor is this simply a matter of
theology. The more we study the teaching of Scripture on this subject, and
the more we lay hold by simple faith of what the Cross meant to God, the
more stable will be our peace and the deeper our joy and praise.
The particular aspect of truth which we now desire to press upon the
reader is plainly taught in many a passage. Take the very first (direct)
reference to the “Lamb” in Scripture. In Geneses 22:8 we read that
Abraham said to his son, “God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt
offering”. It was not simply God would “provide” a lamb, but that He
would “provide Himself a lamb”. The Lamb was “provided” to glorify
God’s character, to vindicate His throne, to satisfy His justice, to magnify
His holiness. So, too, in the ritual on the annual Day of Atonement, we
read of the two goats. Why two? To foreshadow the two great aspects of
Christ’s atoning work — Godwards and usward.
“And he shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord
at the door of the Tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall
cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other for
the scapegoat” (

Leviticus 16:7, 8).
It is this aspect of truth which is before us in

Romans 3:24-26,
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is
in Christ Jesus. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation
through faith in His blood to declare His righteousness… that He
might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus”..137

1 Corinthians 5:7 we read, “Christ our Passover”. He is now our
Passover, because He was first the Lord’s Passover (

Exodus 12:11).
If further confirmation of what we have said above be needed it is supplied
by another term which is used in

Exodus 12:27. Here we are expressly
told that the Passover was a “sacrifice” — “It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s
passover”. Nor is this the only verse in the Scriptures where the Passover is
called a sacrifice. In

Exodus 34:25 we read that God said unto Israel,
“Thou shalt not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven; neither
shall the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover be left unto the
Again, in

Deuteronomy 16:2 we read, “Thou shalt therefore sacrifice
the Passover unto the Lord thy God”. So also in the New Testament, it is
said, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (

1 Corinthians 5:7). We
emphasize this point because it has been denied by many that the Passover
was a “sacrifice”. Objectors have pointed out that the pascal lamb was not
slain by the priest, nor was it offered upon the altar, for there was no altar
which God could own in Egypt. But such an objection is quickly removed
if reference be made to the later Scriptures on the subject. After the Exodus
the “passover” was never allowed to be killed anywhere except in the place
which God had chosen. This is abundantly clear from

16:4, 5,
“And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy
coasts seven days, neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which
thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the
morning. Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy
gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee; but at the place which
the Lord thy God shall choose to place His name in, there thou
shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at
the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt”. The Israelites
were here expressly forbidden to kill the passover in their own
homes, and were commanded to sacrifice it only “at the place
which the Lord Thy God shall choose to place His name in”.
What that “place” was we may learn from

Deuteronomy 12:5, 6 and
similar passages — it was the Tabernacle, afterwards the Temple.
That the Passover was a “sacrifice”, a priestly offering, is further proven
by the fact that in

Numbers 9:6, 7, 13, it is specifically designated a.138
“corban”, and it is certain that nothing was ever so called except what was
brought and offered to God in the Tabernacle or the Temple. Furthermore,
there is definite scripture to show that the blood of the pascal sacrifice was
poured out, sprinkled, offered at the altar by the priests.
“Thou shalt not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened
bread; neither shall the fat of My sacrifice remain until the morning”

Exodus 23:18)
— only the priests “offered” the blood. Plainer still is the testimony of

Chronicles 30:15, 16,
“Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second
month and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified
themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the
Lord. And they stood in their place after their manner according to
the Law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood”.

2 Chronicles 35:11, “And they killed the passover and the priests
sprinkled the blood”. So again

Ezra 6:20,
“For the priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them
were pure, and killed the passover for all the children of the
captivity and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves”.
Note “the priests and Levites” killed the passover for all the children of the
Now there are two lines of thought associated with sacrifices in Scripture.
First, a sacrifice is a propitiatory satisfaction rendered unto God. It is to
placate His holy wrath. It is to appease His righteous hatred of sin. It is to
pacify the claims of His justice. It is to settle the demands of His law. God
is “light” as well as “love”. He is of “purer eyes than to behold evil, and
canst not look on iniquity” (Hab. 1:13). This truth is denied on every side
today. Yet this should not surprise us; it is exactly what prophecy foretold

2 Timothy 4:3, 4). Plain and pointed is the teaching of Scripture on this
subject. Following the rebellion and destruction of Korah, we read that all
the Congregation murmured against Moses and Aaron saying, “Ye have
killed the people”. What was God’s response? This:.139
“The Lord spake unto Moses saying, “Get you up from among this
congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment”

Numbers 16:45).
How was the consuming anger of God averted? Thus:
“And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer and put fire therein off
the altar, and put on incense and go quickly unto the congregation
and make an atonement for them; for there is wrath gone out from
the Lord; the plague is begun. And Aaron took as Moses
commanded and ran into the midst of the congregation; and,
behold, the plague was begun among the people; and he put on
incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood
between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed”

Numbers 16:46-48)!
A similar passage is found in the last chapter of Job. There we read, “The
Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee and
against thy two friends; for ye have not spoken of Me the thing that is
right, as My servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks
and seven rams and go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a
burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept;
lest I deal with you after your folly.” Here, then, is the primary thought
connected with “sacrifice”. It is a bloody offering to appease the holy
wrath of a sin-hating and sin-punishing God. And this is the very word
which is used again and again in connection with the Lord Jesus the Great
Sacrifice. Thus,

Ephesians 5:2:
“Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering
and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.”
Again, “Once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by
the sacrifice of Himself”, (

Hebrews 9:26). And again, “This man, after
He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever sat down on the right hand of
God (

Hebrews 10:12). The meaning of these passages is explained by

Romans 3:25, 26: Christ was unto God a “propitiation”, an
appeasement, a pacification, a legal satisfaction. Therefore could the
forerunner of the Redeemer say,
“Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world”

John 1:29)..140
The second thought associated with “sacrifice” in the Scriptures is that of
thanksgiving and praise unto God; this being the effect of the former. It is
because Christ has propitiated God on their behalf that believers can now
offer “a sacrifice of praise” (

Hebrews 13:15). Said one of old,
“And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round
about me; therefore will I offer in His tabernacle sacrifices of joy”

Psalm 27:6).
Said another,
“I will sacrifice unto Thee with a voice of thanksgiving”(

This is why, after being told that “Christ our Passover hath been sacrificed
for us”, the exhortation follows “therefore let us keep the feast” (

Corinthians 5:7). The pascal lamb was first a sacrifice unto God; second, it
then became the food of those sheltered beneath its blood.
The ritual in connection with the Passover in Egypt was very striking. The
lamb was to be killed (

Exodus 12:6). Death must be inflicted either
upon the guilty transgressor or upon an innocent substitute. Then its blood
was to be taken and sprinkled upon the door-posts and lintel of the house
wherein the Israelites sheltered that night. “Without shedding of blood is
no remission” (

Hebrews 9:22), and without sprinkling of blood is no
salvation. The two words are by no means synonymous. The former is for
Propitiation; the latter is faith’s appropriation. It is not until the converted
sinner applies the blood that it avails for him. An Israelite might have
selected a proper lamb, he might have slain it, but unless he had applied its
blood to the outside of the door, the Angel of Death would have entered
his house and slain his firstborn. In like manner today, it is not enough for
me to know that the precious blood of the Lamb of God was shed for the
remission of sins. A Savior provided is not sufficient: he must be received.
There must be “faith in His blood” (

Romans 3:25), and faith is a
personal thing. I must exercise faith. I must by faith take the blood and
shelter beneath it. I must place it between my sins and the thrice Holy God.
I must rely upon it as the sole ground of my acceptance with Him.
“For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night and will smite
all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and
against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am the
Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses.141
where ye are; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and
the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the
land of Egypt” (

Exodus 12:12, 13).
When the executioner of God’s judgment saw the blood upon the houses
of the Israelites, he entered not, and why? Because death had already done
its work there! The innocent had died in the place of the guilty. And thus
justice was satisfied. To punish twice for the same crime would be unjust.
To exact payment twice for the same debt is unlawful: Even so those
within the blood-sprinkled house were secure. Blessed, blessed truth is this.
It is not merely God’s mercy but His righteousness which is now on the
side of His people. Justice itself demands the acquittal of every believer in
Christ. Herein lies the glory of the Gospel. Said the apostle Paul, “I am not
ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation
to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek

Romans 1:16). And why was he not “ashamed” of the Gospel? Hear
his next words, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from
faith to faith”.
“And when I see the blood I will pass over you”. God’s eye was not upon
the house, but on the blood. It might have been a lofty house, a strong
house, a beautiful house; this made no difference; if there was no blood
there judgment entered and did its deadly work. Its height, its strength, its
magnificence availed nothing, if the blood was lacking. On the other hand,
the house might be a miserable hovel, falling to pieces with age and decay;
but no matter; if blood was upon its door, those within were perfectly safe.
Nor was God’s eye upon those within the house. They might be lineal
descendants of Abraham, they might have been circumcised on the eighth
day, and in their outward life they might be walking blamelessly so far as
the Law was concerned. But it was neither their genealogy, nor their
ceremonial observances, nor their works, which secured deliverance from
God’s judgments. It was their personal application of the shed blood, and
of that alone.
“And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where
ye are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you” (v. 13).
To the mind of the natural man this was consummate folly. What difference
will it make, proud reason might ask, if blood be smeared upon the door?
Ah I “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for.142
they are foolishness unto him (

1 Corinthians 2:14). Supremely true is
this in connection with God’s way of salvation —
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;
but unto us which are saved it is the power of God… But we preach
Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the
Greeks foolishness” (

1 Corinthians 1:18, 23).
It is faith, not reasoning, which God requires; and it was faith which
rendered the Passover-sacrifice effective;
“Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood
lest he that destroyed the first-born should touch them”

Hebrews 11:28).
“To realize what this faith must have been, we have to go back to ‘that
night’, and note the special circumstances, which can alone explain the
meaning of the words ‘by faith’. God’s judgments had been poured out on
Egypt and its king, and its people. A crisis had arrived; for, after nine
plagues had been sent, Pharaoh and the Egyptians still remained obdurate.
Indeed, Moses had been threatened with death if he ever came again into
Pharaoh’s presence (

Exodus 10:28,29). On the other hand, the
Hebrews were in more evil case than ever and Moses, who was to have
delivered them, had not made good his promises.
“It was at such a moment that Moses heard from God what he was to do.
To sense and sight it must have seemed most inadequate, and quite unlikely
to accomplish the desired result. Why should this last plague be expected
to accomplish what the nine had failed to do with all their accumulating
terrors? Why should the mere sprinkling of the blood have such a
marvelous effect? And if they were indeed to leave Egypt ‘that same night’
why should the People be burdened with all those minute ceremonial
observances at the moment when they ought to be making preparation for
their departure? Nothing but ‘faith’ could be of any avail here. Everything
was opposed to human understanding and human reasoning.
“With all the consciousness of ill-success upon him, nothing but unfeigned
faith in the living God and what he had heard from Him, could have
enabled Moses to go to the people and rehearse all the intricacies of the
Pascal observances, and tell them to exercise the greatest care in the
selection of a lamb on the tenth day of the month, to be slain on the
fourteenth day, and eaten with (to them) an unmeaning ceremony. It called.143
for no ordinary confidence in what Moses had heard from God to enable
him to go to his brethren who, in their deep distress, must have been ill-disposed
to listen; for, hitherto, his efforts had only increased the hatred of
their oppressors, and their own miseries as bondmen. It would to human
sight be a difficult if not impossible task to persuade the people, and
convince them of the absolute necessity of complying with all the minute
details of the observance of the Passover ordinance.
“But this is just where faith came in. This was just the field on
which it could obtain its greatest victory. Hence we read that,
“through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood”

Hebrews 11:28), and thus every difficulty was overcome, and
the Exodus accomplished. All was based on ‘the hearing of faith’.
The words of Jehovah produced the faith, and were at once the
cause and effect of all the blessing” (Dr. Bullinger)
“And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where
ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the
plague shall not be upon you to destroy, when I smite the land of
Egypt” (v. 13).
In connection with this it is deeply important that we should distinguish
between two things; the foundation of security and the proof basis of
peace. That which provided a safe refuge from judgment was the death of
the lamb and sprinkling of the blood. That which offered a stay to the heart
was the promise of Him who cannot lie. So many err on this second point.
They want to make their experience, their feelings, something within
themselves, the basis of their assurance. This is a favorite device of Satan,
to turn the eye downwards upon ourselves. The Holy Spirit ever directs the
eye away front ourselves to God and His Word.
Let us suppose a case. Here are two households on that Passover night. At
the head of the one is an unbelieving father who has refused to heed the
Divine warning and avail himself of the Divine provision. Early that
evening his firstborn says, “Father I am very uneasy. Moses has declared
that at midnight an Angel is to visit this land and slay all the firstborn,
except in those houses which are protected by the blood of a lamb”. To
still the fears of his son, the father lies, and assures him that there is no
cause for alarm seeing that he has killed the lamb and applied its blood to
the door. Hearing this, the son is at rest, all fear is gone, and in its place he
is filled with peace. But it is a false peace!.144
In the second home the situation is reversed. At the head of this house is a
God-fearing man. He has heard Jehovah’s warning message through
Moses, and hearing, has believed and acted accordingly; the lamb has been
slain, its blood placed upon the lintel and posts of the door. That evening
the firstborn says, “Father, I feel very uneasy. An Angel is to smite all the
firstborn to-night and how shall I escape?” His father answers, “Son, your
alarm is groundless; yea, it is dishonoring to God. The Lord has said,
‘when I see the blood, I will pass over you’”. “But”, continues the son,
“while I know that you have killed the lamb and applied its blood, I cannot
be but terrified. Even now I hear the cries of terror and anguish going up
from the houses of the Egyptians. O that morning would come! I shall not
feel safe ‘till then”. But his fears were groundless.
Now observe. In the first case supposed above we have a man full of happy
feelings, yet he perished. In the second case, we have one full of fears yet
was he preserved. Examine the ground of each. The oldest son in the first
house was happy because he made the word of man the ground of his
peace. The oldest son in the second house was miserable because he failed
to rest on the sure Word of God. Here, then, are two distinct things.
Security is by the applied blood of the Lamb. Assurance and peace are to
be found by resting on the Word of God. The ground of both is outside of
ourselves. Feelings have nothing to do with either. Deliverance from
judgment is by the Finished Work of Christ, and by that alone. Nothing
else will avail. Religious experiences, ordinances, self-sacrifice, Church-membership,
works of mercy, cultivation of character, avail nothing. The
first thing for me, as a poor lost sinner, to make sure of is, Am I relying
upon what Christ did for sinners? Am I personally trusting in His shed
blood? If I am not, if instead. under the eloquence and moving appeals of
some evangelist, I have decided to turn over a new leaf, and endeavor to
live a better life, and I have “gone forward” and taken the preacher’s hand,
and if he has told me that I am now saved and ready to “join the church,”
and doing so I feel happy and contented — my peace is a false one, and I
shall end in the Lake of Fire, unless God in His grace disillusions me.
On the other hand, if the Holy Spirit has shown me my lost condition, my
deep need of the Savior, and if I have cast myself upon Christ as a
drowning man clutches at a floating spar; if I have really believed on the
Lord Jesus Christ (

Acts 16:31), and received Him as my own personal
Savior (

John 1:12), and yet, nevertheless, I am still lacking in assurance
of my acceptance by God, and have no settled peace of heart; it is because.145
I am failing to rest in simple faith on the written Word. GOD SAYS,
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”. That is
enough. That is the Word of Him who cannot lie. Nothing more is needed.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and
believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not
come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life”

John 5:24).
Never mind about your feelings; do not stop to examine your repentance to
see if it be deep enough. It is CHRIST that saves; not your tears, or
prayers, or resolutions. If you have received Christ, then you are saved.
Saved now, saved forever. — “For by one offering He hath perfected
forever them that are set apart” (

Hebrews 10:14). How may you know
that you are saved? In the same way that the firstborn Israelite could know
that he was secure from the avenging Angel — by the Word of God.
“When I see the blood I will pass over you”. God is saying the same to-day.
If you are under the blood, then you are eternally secure. Neither the
Law, nor the Devil, can harm you. “It is God that justifieth, who is he that
condemneth?” (

Romans 8:33, 34). Receive Christ for salvation. Rest on
God’s Word for assurance and peace!
Nor are we to be occupied with our faith, any more than with our feelings.
It is not the act of faith which (instrumentally) saves us, but the TRUTH
itself, which faith lays hold of. If no blood had been placed on the door, no
believing it was there would have delivered from the avenger. On the other
hand, if the blood had been placed on the door, and those within doubted
its efficacy, peace would have been destroyed but not their security. It is
faith in God’s promise which brings assurance. For salvation, faith is
simply the hand that receives the gift. For assurance, faith is “setting to our
seal that God is true” (

John 3:33). And this is simply receiving “His
In this paper we have only sought to develop that which is central and vital
in connection with our salvation and peace. In our next we shall, God
willing, take up some of the many interesting details of Exodus 12. May
the Lord be pleased to use what we have written to establish His own..146

The institution and ritual of the Passover supply us with one of the most
striking and blessed foreshadowments of the cross-work of Christ to be
found anywhere in the Old Testament. Its importance may be gathered
from the frequency with which the title of “Lamb” is afterwards applied to
the Savior, a title which looks back to what is before us in Exodus 12.
Messianic prediction contemplated the suffering Messiah “brought as a
Lamb to the slaughter” (

Isaiah 53:6). John the Baptist hailed Him as
“Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world”

John 1:29).
The apostle speaks of Him as “a Lamb without blemish and without spot”

1 Peter 1:19). While the one who leaned on the Master’s bosom
employs this title no less than twenty-eight times in the closing book of
Scripture. Thus, an Old Testament prophet, the Lord’s forerunner, an
apostle, and the Apocalyptic seer unite in employing this term of the
There are many typical pictures of the sacrificial work of Christ scattered
throughout the Old Testament, yet it is to be doubted if any single one of
them supplies so complete, so many-sided a portrayal of the person and
work of the Savior as does the one before us. The Passover sets forth both
the Godward and the manward aspects of the Atonement. It prefigures
Christ satisfying the demands of Deity, and it views Him as a substitute for
elect sinners. Hardly a single vital phase of the Cross, either in its nature or
its blessed results, but what is typified here. That which is central and basic
we contemplated in our last paper; here we shall confine our attention to
1. Following the order of the contents of Exodus 12, the first thing to be
noted is that the institution of the Passover changed Israel’s calendar:.147
“This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be
the first month of the year to you” (

Deeply significant is this. Passover-month was to begin Israel’s year; only
from this point was their national existence to be counted. The type is
accurate down to the minutest detail. The new year did not begin exactly
with the Passover-night itself, for that fell between the fourteenth and
fifteenth of Nisan. Now the pascal lamb was a type of the Lord Jesus, and
the chronology of the civilized world is dated back to the birth of Christ.
Anno Mundi (the year of the world) has given place to Anno Domini (the
year of our Lord). The coming of Christ to this earth changed the calendar,
and the striking thing is that the calendar is now dated not from His death,
but from His birth. By common consent men on three Continents reckon
time from the Babe of Bethlehem; thus, the Lord of Time has written His
signature upon time itself!
But there is another application of what has just been before us. The
Passover speaks not only of Christ offering Himself as a sacrifice, a sin-offering
to God, but it also views the believing sinner’s appropriation of
this unto himself. The slaying of the “lamb” looks at the Godward side of
the Cross; the sprinkling of the blood tells of faith’s application. And it is
this which changes our relationship to God. But our appropriation of
Christ’s atoning sacrifice is not the first thing. Preceding this is a Divine
work of grace within us. While we remain dead in trespasses and.sins, there
is no turning to Christ; nay, there is no discernment, and no capacity to
discern, our need of Him. Except a man be born again he “cannot see the
kingdom (things) of God” (

John 3:3). Regeneration is the cause, faith’s
application of the sacrifice of Christ, the effect. The new birth is the
beginning of the new life. Hence, Israel’s new calendar dated not from the
Passover itself, but from the beginning of the month in which it occurred.
The true here typified is both blessed and solemn. All the years we lived
before we became new creatures in Christ are not reckoned to our account.
The past is blotted out. Our unregenerate days were so much lost time.
Our past lives in the service of sin and Satan, were wasted. But when we
became new creatures in Christ “old things passed away” and all things
became new.
2. “Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of
this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the
house of their fathers, a lamb for an house” (v. 3). This is the first thing in.148
connection with the “lamb”: it was singled out from the flock, separated,
appointed unto death four days before it was actually slain. We believe that
two things were here foreshadowed. In the antitype, Christ was marked out
for death before He was actually slain: “Redeemed with the precious blood
of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was
foreordained before the foundation of the world” (

1 Peter 1:19, 20). It
is to this that the singling out of the lamb four days before its slaying
points, for four is the number of the world.
The second application of this detail, which has also been pointed out by
others before us, has reference to the fact that four years before His
crucifixion the Lord Jesus was singled out for death. At the beginning of
His public ministry (which lasted between three and four years — cf.

Numbers 14:34;

Ezekiel 4:6, a year for a day) John the Baptist cried,
“Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” It was
then that the Lamb was singled out from the flock — “the lost sheep of the
House of Israel”! In the Numerical Bible Mr. Grant has called attention to
the fact that Christ was about thirty years old at that time, and 30 is 10 x 3
being the number of manifestation and 10 of human responsibility. This
shows us why God commanded the Israelites to single out the lamb on the
tenth day. Not until He had reached the age which, according to its
numerical significance, spoke of human responsibility fully manifested, did
the Lord Jesus enter upon His appointed work which terminated at
3. “Your lamb shall be without blemish” (v. 5). With this should be

Leviticus 22:21, 22. “And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of
peace offerings unto the Lord to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering
in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no
blemish therein. Blind, or broken or maimed, or having a wren or scurvy,
or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the Lord”. The moral significance
of this is obvious. Nothing but a perfect sacrifice could satisfy the
requirements of God, who Himself is perfect. One who had sin in himself
could not make an atonement for sinners. One who did not himself keep
the Law in thought and word and deed, could not magnify and make it
honorable. God could only be satisfied with that which glorified Him. And
where was such a sacrifice to be found? Certainly not among the sons of
men. None but the Son of God incarnate, “made under the law”

Galatians 4:4) could offer an acceptable sacrifice. And before He
presented Himself as an offering to God, the Father testified, “This is My.149
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. He was the antitype of the
“perfect” lamb. As Peter tells us, Christ was “a lamb without blemish and
without spot” (1:19).
4. “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year” (v. 5).
“The age of the sacrifice is prescribed. It is to be a male of the first
year. The Hebrew phrase is ‘a male, the son of a year’; that is, it is
to be one year old. The lamb was not to be too young or too old. It
was to die in the fullness of its strength. If we ask how that might
apply to Christ, we note that this particular may be fully sustained
as a description of Him. For He died for us, not in old age, nor in
childhood, or boyhood, or in youth, but in the fullness of His
opening manhood” (Urquhart).
In the language of Messianic prediction, Christ was cut off “in the midst”
of His days (

Psalm 102:24).
Before passing on to the next verse we would call attention to a striking
gradation here. In verse 3 it is “a lamb”; in verse 4, “the lamb”; in verse 5,
“your lamb”. This order is most instructive, corresponding to the enlarged
apprehension of faith. While in our unregenerate state, Christ appeared to
us as nothing more than a Lamb; we saw in Him no beauty that we should
desire Him. But when the Holy Spirit awakened. us from the sleep of
death, when He made us see our sinful and lost condition, and turned our
gaze toward Christ, then we behold Him as the Lamb. We perceived His
uniqueness, His unrivaled perfections. We learned that “neither is there
salvation in any other; for there is none other Name under heaven given
among men whereby we must be saved, (

Acts 4:12). Finally, when God
in His sovereign grace gave us faith whereby to receive Christ as our own
personal Savior, then could He be said to be your Lamb, our Lamb. Each
elect and believing sinner can say with the apostle Paul, “Who loved me
and gave Himself for me” (

Galatians 2:20).
5. “And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month; and
the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening
(v. 6). This is very solemn. The whole congregation of Israel was to slay
the “lamb”. Not that every particular individual, man, woman and child,
shared in the act itself, but they did so representatively. The head of the
household stood for and acted on the behalf of each member of his family.
It was not simply Moses and Aaron or the Levites who slew the Lamb, but.150
the entire people, as represented by the heads of each household. The
fulfillment of this aspect of our type is plainly brought out in the Gospels. It
was not simply the chief priests and elders, nor the scribes and Pharisees
only, who put the Lord Jesus to death. When Pilate decided the issue as to
whether Barabbas or Christ should be released, he did so by the popular
vote of the common people, who all cried “crucify Him” (see

15:6-15). In like manner it is equally true that it was the sins of each
individual believer which caused our Savior to be put to death: He bare our
sins in His own body on the tree.
6. “And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month; and
the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening”
(v. 6). Here we have defined the exact time at which the pascal lamb was
to die. It was to be “kept up” or tethered until the fourteenth day of Nisan,
and then killed in the evening, or more literally, “between the evenings”,
that is between the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month. To point out
precisely the antitypical fulfillment of this would necessitate an examination
of quite a number of N. T. passages. Only by a most minute comparison of
the statements in each of the four Gospels can we discover the fact that the
Lord Jesus died “between the evenings” of the fourteenth and fifteenth of
Nisan. Others before us have performed this task, the best of which,
perhaps, is to be found in volume 5 of the Companion Bible. But if the
reader will prayerfully study the closing chapters of each of the Gospels it
will be seen that the Lamb of God died at the very time that the pascal
lambs were being slain in the temple.
7. “And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the
evening” (v. 6). Here the type passes to the Antitype. This point is very
striking indeed. Many thousands of lambs were to be slain on that
memorable night in Egypt, yet the Lord here designedly used the singular
number when giving these instructions to Moses — Israel shall kill it, not
“them” It is indeed remarkable that never once is the plural “lambs” used
throughout the 12th chapter of Exodus.
“There was only one before God’s mind — The Lamb of Calvary”
8. “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened
bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it” (v. 8). Not only was the lamb
to be killed, but its flesh was to be eaten. This was God’s provision for
those inside the house, as the blood secured protection from the judgment.151
outside. A journey lay before Israel, and food was needed to strengthen
them first. “Eating” signifies two things in Scripture: appropriation and
fellowship. The “lamb” spoke of the person of Christ, and He is God’s
food for His people — The Bread of Life”. Christ is to be the object before
our hearts. As we feed upon Him our souls are sustained and He is
“It is death here which God ordains as the food of life. We are so
familiar with this we are apt by the very fact to miss its significance.
How we see nature thus everywhere instructing us, if we have but
learned to read her lessons in the deepest lesson of God’s wisdom!
The laying down of life becomes the sustenance of life. For men
this did not begin until after the Deluge; at least it is only after this
we read of Divine permission for it. And when we see in that
Deluge with its central figure, the ark of salvation, bearing within it
the nucleus of the new world, the pregnant figure of how God has
saved us and brought us in Christ into a new creation. how its
similitude in what we have here bursts upon us! It is only as
sheltered and saved from death — from what is alone truly such —
that we can feed upon death; that Samson’s riddle is fulfilled, and
‘out of the eater comes forth meat, and out of the strong
sweetness! Death is not merely vanquished and set aside; it is in the
Cross the sweet and wonderful display of Divine love and power in
our behalf accomplished in the mystery of human weakness. Death
is become the food of life — yea, of a life which is eternal.” (F. W.
But mark carefully the lamb is to be eaten with “unleavened bread and
bitter herbs”. In Scripture “leaven” uniformly symbolizes evil. The lesson
taught here is of vital importance. It is only as we are separated from what
is repugnant to Divine holiness that we can really feed upon Christ. While
we are indulging known sin there can be no communion with Him. It is
only as we “walk in the light as He is in the light” that the blood of God’s
Son cleanseth us from all sin and “we have fellowship one with another”

1 John 1:7). The “bitter herbs” speak of the remorse of conscience in
the Christian. We cannot have “fellowship with His sufferings”

Philippians 3:10) without remembering what it was that made those
sufferings needful, namely, our sins, and the remembrance of these cannot
but produce a chastened spirit..152
9. “Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire” (v.
9). How very explicit — rather, how carefully God preserved the accuracy
of the type! In the previous verse we read, “eat the flesh in that night, roast
with fire”, here, “eat not of it raw”. The Israelites were to feed not only
upon that where death had done its work, but upon that which had been
subjected to the fire. Solemn indeed is this.
“It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment”

Hebrews 9:27).
These are two separate things. For the lost, death is not all, nor even the
worst that awaits them. After death is “judgment,” the judgment of a sin-hating
God. Therefore if Christ was to take the place of His sinful people
and suffer what was righteously due them, He must not only die, but pass
under and through the judgment of God. “Fire” here, as ever, speaks of the
wrath of a holy God. It tells of Christ being “made sin for us” (

Corinthians 5:21), and consequently being “made a curse for us”

Galatians 3:13) and as such, enduring the judgment of God. Speaking
anticipatively by the Spirit, through the prophet Jeremiah, the Savior said,
“Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any
sorrow like unto My sorrow, which is done Unto Me, wherewith the Lord
hath afflicted Me in the day of His fierce anger. From above hath He sent
fire into My bones”. It was this which caused Him to also say through the
Psalmist, “My moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (

32:4). And this it is which, in its deepest meaning, explains His cry from
the Cross — “I thirst”. His “thirst” was the effect of the agony of His soul
in the fierce heat of God’s wrath. It told of the drought of the land where
the living God is not. “Not sodden (boiled) at all with water”, because
water would have hindered the direct action of the fire.
“His head with his legs, and with the purtenance (inwards) thereof”
(v. 9).
“The head, no doubt, expresses the thoughts and counsels with
which the walk (the legs) keep perfect company. The inwards are
those affections of His heart which were the motive-power
impelling Him upon the path He trod. In all, the fire brought forth
nothing but sweet savor; for men, it prepared the food of their true
life; all is absolutely perfect; and all is ours to appropriate.
Occupation with the person of Christ is thus impressed upon us; we
need this. Not the knowledge of salvation alone will suffice us; it is.153
the One who saves whom we need. Christ for our hearts alone
keeps and sanctifies them, (Mr. Grant).
10. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning.” (v. 10). The
lamb must be eaten the same night as it was slain. Communion must not be
separated from the sacrifice on which that communion was founded.
Communion is based upon redemption accomplished. We find the same
truth brought before us again at the close of Christ’s parable of the
prodigal son. As soon as the lost son enters the Father’s house and is
suitably attired, the word goes forth
“Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill; and let us eat and be merry”

Luke 15:23).
Another thought is also suggested here by the words “ye shall let nothing
of it remain until the morning”.
“The sacrifice in all its ceremonial was to be completed within a
single night. The rising sun was thus to see no trace of the slain
lamb. In like manner the atoning work of Christ is not a progressive
but a completed thing. It is not in process of being accomplished; it
has been accomplished definitely and eternally. As a fragrant and
hallowed memory Calvary’s costly sacrifice abides with God and
the redeemed forever; but the sacrifice itself is past and completed.
For God’s suffering Lamb the dark night of judgment is no more,
and He lives on high in the eternal sunshine of Divine favor and
love” (Mr. W. W. Fereday).
11. “And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your
feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s
Passover” (v. 11). The little word “thus” is very emphatic. It defines for us
the accessories, what should accompany feeding upon Christ; four things
are mentioned. First, their dress; ‘loins girded”. “Having your loins girt
about with truth”, says the apostle. “The garments are spiritually what we
may designate by the old word for them — ‘habits’. They are the moral
guise in which we appear before men — what they identify with us at least,
if they are not, after all, ourselves. And if not just ‘ourselves’ we may be in
many ways read in them; pride or lowliness, boldness or unobtrusiveness,
sloth or diligence, and many another thing.
“The long robes of the East, as we are all aware, required the girdle
in order that there might be no hindrance in the way of a march.154
such as Israel now had before them. If they were allowed to flow
loose, they would get entangled with the feet and overthrow the
wearers; and the dust of the road would get upon them and defile
them. The truth it is which is to be our girdle, keeping us from the
loose and negligent contact with ever-ready defilement in a world
which the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life
characterizes, and from the entanglement to our feet which lax
habits prove.
“Garments un-girded are thus practically near akin to the ‘weights’

Hebrews 12:2) which the apostle bids us ‘lay aside’, and which
are not things in themselves sinful, and yet nevertheless betray us
into sin. Have you noticed the connection in that exhortation of his
‘lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us’?
If you had a pack of wolves following you, you would understand
very quickly, why if carrying a weight you would be indeed ‘easily
beset’. And herein, many a soul may discern, if he will, why he has
so great and so little successful conflict. The ‘weight’ shows, like
the flowing garment that whatever else we may be, we are not
racers….Fit companions then with unleavened bread and bitter
herbs are these girt loins. We must arise and depart for this is not
our rest” (Mr. Grant).
“Your shoes on your feet”. This, again, was in view of the journey which
lay before them. It tells of preparation for their walk. There is a most
interesting reference to these “shoes” in

Deuteronomy 29:5, where at
the close of his life, Moses said, “I have led your forty years in the
wilderness; your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not
waxen old upon thy foot”, And again he reminded them, “Neither did thy
foot swell these forty years” (

Deuteronomy 8:4). Remarkable was this.
For forty years Israel had wandered up and down the wilderness, yet their
shoes were neither torn to pieces nor did their feet suffer. How this tells of
the sufficiency of that provision which God has graciously provided for the
walk of His saints! When the prodigal son came to His Father, there was
not only the best robe for his body, and the ring for his hand, but there
were also “shoes for his feet” (

Luke 15:22)! The significance of these
“shoes” is explained for us in

Ephesians 6:15 — “Your feet shod with
the preparation of the Gospel of peace”..155
“Your staff in your hand”. The staff is the sign of pilgrimage. As they
journeyed to the Promised Land, Israel were to pass through a wilderness
in which they would be strangers and pilgrims. So it is with Christians as
they pass through this world. Their home is not here: “Our citizenship is in
heaven” (

Philippians 3:20). Therefore does God say, “I beseech you as
strangers and pilgrims” (

1 Peter 2:11). Staff in hand signifies that as
Israel journeyed they were to lean on something outside of themselves.
Clearly this is the written Word, given us for a stay and support. The
dependent soul who leans bard upon it can say with the Psalmist, “Thy rod
and Thy staff they comfort me” (

“And ye shall eat it in haste”.
“They were to eat it in haste because they expected that any
moment the Lord might come and pass over them; any moment
they might be called to arise and go out of the land of bondage.
They expected the imminent Coming of the Lord. That is to say,
because the Coming of the Lord was imminent they expected it”.
(Dr. Haldeman).
12. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (v. 13). Upon this Mr.
Urquhart has made some illuminating remarks.
“The term rendered Passover ‘pesach’ does not seem to have that
meaning. It is entirely different from the Hebrew verb, a-bhar, or
ga-bhar, so frequently used in the sense of ‘to pass over’. Pasach
(the verb) and pesach (the noun) have no connection with any other
Hebrew word. They closely resemble, however, the Egyptian word
pesh, which means ‘to spread the wings over,’ ‘to protect’. The
word is used — we may say explained — in this sense in

31:5: “As birds flying, so will the Lord of Hosts defend Jerusalem;
defending also He will deliver it; and passing over (pasoach,
participle of pasach) He will preserve it’. The word has,
consequently, the very meaning of the Egyptian term for ‘spreading
the wings over’, and ‘protecting’; and pesach, the Lord’s Passover,
means such sheltering and protection as is found under the
outstretched wings of the Almighty. Does not this give a new
fullness to those words of our Savior, ‘O Jerusalem! Jerusalem!….
how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen
does gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not’

Luke 13:34.)? Jesus of Nazareth was her PESACH, her shelter.156
from the coming judgment; and she knew it not! Quite in keeping
with this sense of protecting with outstretched wings is the fact that
this term pesach is applied (1) to the ceremony, ‘It is the Lord’s
Passover’ (

Exodus 12:11), and (2) to the lamb (v. 21); ‘draw
out and take you a lamb according to your families and kill the
Passover’. The slain lamb, the sheltering behind its blood and the
eating of its flesh, constituted the pesach, the protection of God’s
chosen people beneath the sheltering wings of the Almighty”.
This interpretation is clearly established by what we read in verse 23: “For
the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He seeth the
blood upon the lintel and upon the two side posts, the Lord will pass over
the door, and will not suffer the Destroyer to come in unto your houses to
smite you”. It was not merely that the Lord passed by the houses of the
Israelites, but that He stood on guard protecting each blood-sprinkled
13. “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a
feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an
ordinance forever” (v. 14). It is interesting to trace Israel’s subsequent
response to this command. Scripture records just seven times when this
Feast was kept. The first in Egypt, here in Exodus 12. The second in the
Wilderness (Numbers 9). The third when they entered Canaan (Joshua 5).
The fourth in the days of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 30). The fifth under
Josiah (2 Chronicles 35). The sixth after the return from the Captivity
(Ezra 6). Just six in the O. T. The seventh was celebrated by the Lord
Jesus and His apostles immediately before the institution of “the Lord’s
Supper, (

Luke 22:15, etc.). In that last Passover the true Lamb of God
is seen, who had been prefigured by the preceding pascal lambs.
“It should also be observed, that Jesus Christ, who celebrated the
last Passover, had been Himself in Egypt, where the first had been
observed. As the passover came from Egypt, so Jesus Christ, who
is the true Passover was called out of Egypt (

Matthew 2:15)”
(Robert Haldane: Evidence and Authority of Divine Revelation).
14. “And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in
the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is
in the basin” (v. 22). This gives us a marvelous typical picture of the
sufferings of our blessed Lord upon the Cross, though the picture is marred
by translating here, the original word, “basin”. Once more we avail.157
ourselves of the scholarly help of Dr. Urquhart The word rendered ‘basin’
is sap, which is an old Egyptian word for the step before a door, or the
threshold of a house. The word is translated ‘threshold’ in

Judges 19:27
and ‘door’ in

2 Kings 12:9 — apparently for the sole reason that the
sense ‘basin’, favored by lexicographers and translators could not possibly
be given to the word in these passages…No direction was given about
putting the blood upon the threshold, for the reason that the blood was
already there. The lamb was evidently slain at the door of the house which
was protected by its blood”. We may add that the Septuagint gives “para
ten thuran”, which means along the door-way! While the Vulgate reads, “in
sanguine qui est limine” — in the blood which is on the threshold. This
point is not simply one of academic interest, but concerns the accuracy of
the type. The door of the house wherein the Israelite was protected had
blood on the lintel (the cross piece), on the side posts and on the step (The
objection that blood on the step would cause the Israelite to walk upon it,
is obviated by Jehovah’s instructions. “And none of you shall go out at the
door until the morning” (v. 22)!). How marvelously this pictured Christ on
the Cross; blood above, where the thorns pierced His brow; blood at the
sides, from His nail-pierced hands; blood below, from His nail-pierced
15. The blood was to be applied with “a bunch of hyssop” (v. 22). Nothing
in the Word is meaningless: the smallest detail has its due significance. Nor
are we ever left to guess at anything; Scripture is ever its own interpreter.
The “hyssop” was not connected with the “lamb”, but with the application
of its blood. It speaks, then, not of Christ but of the sinner’s appropriation
of His sacrifice. The “hyssop” is never found in connection with any of the
offerings which foreshadowed the Lord Jesus Himself. It is beheld,
uniformly, in the hands of the sinner. Thus in connection with the cleansing
of the leper (Leviticus 14); and the restoration of the unclean (Numbers
19). From

Psalm 51:7 we may learn that “hyssop” speaks of
humiliation of soul, contrition, repentance. Note that in

1 Kings 4:33
“hyssop” is contrasted with “the cedars”, showing that “hyssop” speaks of
Perhaps a word should be added concerning the Feast of Unleavened
Bread which followed the Passover: “And ye shall observe the Feast of
Unleavened Bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out
of the land of Egypt; therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations
by an ordinance forever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the.158
month, at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth
day of the month at even. Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your
houses; for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be
cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger or born in
the land. Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat
unleavened bread” (vv. 17-20). The interpretation of this for us is supplied

1 Corinthians 5:7, 8:
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as
ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us;
therefore let us keep the feast not with old leaven, neither with the
leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of
sincerity and truth”.
Upon the above we cannot do better than quote from Mr. C. H.
MacIntosh: the Feast spoken of in this passage is that which, in the life and
conduct of the Church, corresponds with the Feast of unleavened bread.
This lasted seven days (a complete circle of time A. W. P.) ; and the
Church collectively, and the believer individually, are called to walk in
practical holiness, during their days, or the entire period of their course
here below; and this, moreover, as the direct result of being washed in the
blood, and having communion with the sufferings of Christ.
“The Israelite did not put away leaven in order to be saved, but
because he was saved; and if he failed to put away leaven it did not
raise the question of security through the blood, but simply of
fellowship with the assembly. The cutting off of an Israelite from
the Congregation answers precisely to the suspension of Christian
fellowship, and if he be indulging in that which is contrary to the
holiness of the Divine presence. God cannot tolerate evil. A single
unholy thought (entertained: A. W. P.) will interrupt the soul’s
communion; and until the soil contracted by any such thought is got
rid of by confession, founded on the advocacy of Christ, the
communion cannot possibly be restored (see 1 John :5-10)”.
May the Lord stir us up to a more diligent and prayerful study of His
wonderful Word..159

EXODUS 12, 13
Though we have entitled this paper “the Accompaniments of the
Passover”, other things will come before us. The instructions which
Jehovah gave to Israel concerning the observance of the Feast of
Unleavened Bread are found part in Exodus 12 and part in Exodus 13.
Therefore as these two chapters are to be the portion for our study, we
must not pass by other incidents recorded in them. First, then, a brief word
upon the carrying out of the death-sentence upon the Egyptians.
“And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the
firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn, of Pharaoh that
sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captives that was in the
dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the
night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a
great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not
one dead” (

12:29, 30).
The very first message which the Lord commanded Moses to deliver to
Egypt’s ruler was,
“Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, even my firstborn; And I say
unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me; and if thou refuse
to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn”

4:22, 23).
It is evident from the sequel that Pharaoh did not believe this message. In
this he accurately represented the men of this world. All through this
Christian dispensation the solemn word has been going forth, “Except ye
repent ye shall all likewise perish” (

Luke 13:3): “He that believeth not
shall be damned” (

Mark 16:16). But, for the most part, the Divine
warning has fallen on deaf ears. The vast majority do not believe that God
means what He says. Nevertheless, though oftentimes men’s threats are
mere idle words and empty bombast, not so is it with the threatenings of.160
Him who cannot lie. It is true that God is “slow to anger” and long does
He leave open the door of mercy, but even His long-sufferance has its
limits. It was thus with Pharaoh and his people. Pharaoh received plain and
faithful warning and this was followed by many appeals and preliminary
judgments. But the haughty king and his no less defiant subjects only
hardened their hearts. And now the threatened judgment from heaven fell
upon them, and neither wealth nor poverty provided any exemption —
“there was not a house where there was not one dead”. A most solemn
proof is this unto rebels against God to-day, that in a short while at most,
unless they truly repent, Divine wrath shall smite them.
“Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt,
was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of
the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to
pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of
Egypt” (

12:40, 41).
It is very striking to observe the accuracy of the type here. It was not until
the day following the Passover-night that Israel was delivered from Egypt.
As we have gone over the first twelve chapters of Exodus we have
witnessed the tender compassion of God (

2:23-25); we have seen the
appointment of a leader (

3:10); we have listened to the Divine promises

6:6-8); and we have beheld remarkable displays of Divine power (in
the plagues), and yet not a single Israelite was delivered from the house of
bondage. It was not until the blood of the “lamb” was shed that redemption
was effected, and as soon as it was shed, even the very next morning, Israel
marched forth a free people — remarkable is the expression here used:
“All the hosts of the Lord (not “of Israel”) went out from the land
of Egypt” (

They were the Lord’s by purchase — “bought with a price”, and that price
“not corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of a
The same thing is to be seen in the Gospels. Notwithstanding all the
blessed display of grace and power in the life and ministry of the Lord
Jesus, at the close of His wonderful works of mercy among men, had there
been nothing more, He must have remained alone. Listen to His own
words; “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the.161
ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit

John 12:24). As another has well said,
“Blessed as was that ministry, great as were His miracles, heavenly
as was His teaching, holy as was His life, yet had He not died, the
Just for the unjust, not one of all the sons of Adam could possibly
have been saved. What a place this gives to redemption!” (Mr. C.
How sadly true. Though Christ “spake as never man spake” (

7:46), and though men confessed “He hath done all things well; He maketh
both the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak (

Mark 7:37), yet at the
close we read, even of His apostles, “they all forsook Him and fled”. But
how different after His precious blood had been shed! Then He is no longer
“alone”. Then, for the first time, He speaks of the disciples as His
“brethren” (

John 20:17).
The order of truth in Exodus 12, like every other chapter in the Bible, is
according to Divine wisdom, yet the writer has to confess dimness of
vision in perceiving the purpose and beauty of the arrangements of its
contents. One thing is very clear, it evidences plainly that it was not of
Moses’ own design. Here, as ever, God’s thought and ways are different
from ours. A trained mind, accustomed to think in logical sequence, would
certainly have reversed the order found here. Yet we have not the slightest
doubt that God’s order is infinitely superior to that of the most brilliant
human intellect. These remarks are occasioned by what is found in verses
43-50. After telling us in verse 45 that “The self-same day it came to pass,
that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt”, verses 43
to 50 give us the “ordinance of the Passover”, and then in verse 51 it is
repeated that “The Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of
Egypt”. The strange thing is that this ordinance was for Israel’s guidance in
the future, hence one would naturally have expected to find these
instructions given at a later date, as a part of the ceremonial law. But
though, at present, we can offer no satisfactory explanation of this, several
points of interest in the “ordinance” itself are clear, and these we will
briefly consider.
“And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of
the Passover; There shall no stranger eat thereof; but every man’s
servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him,.162
then shall he eat thereof. A foreigner and an hired servant shall not
eat thereof” (vv. 43-45).
Here we learn that three classes of people were debarred from eating the
First, no stranger was to eat thereof. This Feast was for Israel alone, and
therefore no foreigner must participate. The reason is obvious. It was only
the children of Abraham, the family of faith, who had participated in God’s
gracious deliverance, and they alone could commemorate it.
Second, no hired servant should eat the Passover. This too is easily
interpreted. An “hired” servant is an outsider; he is actuated by self-interest.
He works for pay. But no such principle can find a place in that
which speaks of redemption:
“To him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the
ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (

Romans 4:5).
Third, no uncircumcised person should eat thereof. (v. 48). This applies to
Israel equally as much as to Gentiles. “Circumcision’ was the sign of the
Covenant, and only these who belonged to the Covenant of Grace can feed
upon Christ. Circumcision was God’s sentence of death written upon
nature. Circumcision has its antitype in the Cross. (

Colossians 2:11,
“But every man’s servant that is bought for money when thou hast
circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof…. and when a stranger
shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the Passover to the Lord, let
all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep
it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no
uncircumcised person shall eat thereof” (vv. 44, 48).
A wall was erected to shut out enemies, but the door was open to receive
friends. No hired servant could participate in the Feast, but a bond-servant
who had been purchased and circumcised, and who was now one of the
household, could. So, too, the foreigner who sojourned with Israel,
provided he would submit to the rite of circumcision. In this we have a
blessed foreshadowing of Grace reaching out to the Gentiles, who though
by nature were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to
the covenants of promise”, are now, by grace “no more strangers and
foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God”.163

Ephesians 2:12, 19). — a statement which manifestly looks back to
Exodus 12.
“In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of
the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone
thereof (v. 46).
“The lamb was to be eaten under the shelter of the atoning blood,
and there alone. Men may admire Christ, as it is the fashion very
much to do, while denying the whole reality of His atoning work,
but the Lamb can only be eaten really where its virtue is owned I
Apart from this, He cannot be understood or appreciated. Thus the
denial of His work leads to the denial of His person. Universalists
and Annihilationists slip naturally into some kind of Unitarian
doctrines as is evidenced on every hand.
“Thus this unites naturally with the commandment ‘Neither shall ye
break a bone thereof’. God will not have the perfection of Christ
disfigured as it would be in type by a broken bone. With the bones
perfect a naturalist can show the construction of the whole animal.
Upon the perfection of the bones depends the symmetry of form.
God will have this preserved with regard to Christ. Reverent, not
rash handling, becomes us as we seek to apprehend the wondrous
Christ of God. And looking back to what is in connection with this,
how suited a place to preserve reverence, the place ‘in the house’
under the shelter which the precious blood has provided for us!
With such a one, so sheltered, how could rationalism or
irreverence, we might ask, be found? And yet, alas, the injunction,
we know too well is not unneedful” (Mr. Grant).
It is indeed blessed to mark how God guarded the fulfillment of this
particular aspect of the type. That there might be no uncertainty that Christ
Himself, the Lamb of God, was in view here, the Spirit of prophecy also
caused it to be written (in one of the Messianic Psalms), “He keepeth all
His bones; not one of them is broken” (

34:20). And in John 19 we
behold the antitype of Exodus 12 and the fulfillment of Psalm 34.
“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation that the bodies
should not remain upon the Cross on the Sabbath day (for that
Sabbath day was an high day), besought Pilate that their legs might
be broken, and that they might be taken away” (v.

Here was Satan, in his malignant enmity attempting to falsify and nullify the
written Word. Vain effort was it.
“Then came the soldiers and brake the legs of the first, and of the
other which was crucified with Him” (v. 32).
Thus far might the agents of the Roman empire go, but no farther —
“But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was dead already,
they brake not His legs,” (

John 19:33).
Here we are given to see the Father “keeping” (preserving) all the bones of
His blessed Son. Pierce His side with a spear a soldier might, and this, only
that prophecy might be fulfilled, for it was written, “They shall look on
Him whom they pierced, (

Zechariah 12:10). But brake His legs they
could not, for “a bone of Him shall not be broken”, and it was not!
“And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, Sanctify unto Me all the
firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of
Israel both of man and of beast it is Mine” (

13:1, 2).
“The narrative of the Exodus from Egypt is suspended to bring in
certain consequences, — responsible consequences for the’ children
of Israel — consequences which flowed from their redemption out
of the land of bondage. For, although, they are still in the land, the
teaching of the chapter is founded upon their having been brought
out, and it is indeed anticipative of their being in Canaan. If God
acts in grace toward His people, He thereby establishes claims upon
them, and it is these claims that are here unfolded” (Ed. Dennett).
A redeemed people become the property of the Redeemer. To His New
Testament saints God says,
“Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price”

1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).
It is on this same principle that Jehovah here says unto Moses, “Sanctify
unto Me all the firstborn”. The reference to the “firstborn” here should be
carefully noted. It was the firstborn of Israel who had been redeemed from
the death-judgment which fell upon the Egyptians, and now the Lord
claims these for Himself. Typically this speaks of practical holiness, setting
apart unto God. Thus the first exhortation in Romans which follows the
doctrinal exposition in chapters 1 to 11 is,.165
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service” (

Personal devotedness is the first thing which God has a right to look for
from His blood-bought people.
“Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day
shall be a feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven
days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither
shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters” (

13:6, 7).
Typically this shows the nature of sanctification. Throughout Scripture
“leaven” is the symbol of evil, evil which spreads and corrupts everything
with which it comes into contact, for “a little leaven leaveneth the whole
lump” (

1 Corinthians 5:6). To eat “unleavened bread” signifies
separation from all evil, in order that we may feed upon Christ. That this
Feast lasted “seven days”, which is a complete period, tells us that this is to
last throughout our whole sojourn on earth. It is to this that

Corinthians 5:7, 8 refers. “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may
be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is
sacrificed for us; Therefore let us keep the feast not with old leaven,
neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened
bread of sincerity and truth.” Because we are saved by grace, through the
sprinkled blood of Christ, it is not that we may now indulge in sin without
fear of its consequences, or that grace may abound. Not so. Redemption by
the precious blood of Christ imposes an additional responsibility to
separate ourselves from all evil, that we may now show forth the praises of
Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Carelessness of walk, evil associations, worldliness, fleshly indulgences are
the things which hinder us from keeping this Feast of unleavened Bread.
But much more is included by this figure of “leaven” than the grosser
things of the flesh. We read in the N. T. of “the leaven of the Pharisees,

Matthew 16:6). This is superstition, the making void of the Word of
God by the traditions of men. Formalism and legality are included too.
Sectarianism and ritualism as well are the very essence of Phariseeism.
Then we read of “the leaven of the Sadducees” (

Matthew 16:6). The
Sadducees were materialists, denying a spirit within man, and rejecting the
truth of resurrection, (

Acts 23:8). In its present-day form, Higher
Criticism, Rationalism, Modernism answers to Sadduceeism. We also read.166
of “the leaven of Herod (

Mark 8:15). This is worldliness, or more
specifically, the friendship of the world, as the various statements made
about Herod in the Gospels will bear out. All of these things must be
rigidly excluded. The allowance of any of them makes it impossible to feed
upon Christ. Is it not because of our failure to “purge out the old leaven”
that so few of the Lord’s people enter upon “the feast of unleavened
“And thou shall show thy son in that day, saying, this is done
because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out
of Egypt” (

Striking indeed is this. The basis of this Feast was what the Lord had done
for Israel in delivering them from the land of bondage. In other words, its
foundation was redemption accomplished, entered into, known, enjoyed.
No soul can really feast upon Christ while he is in doubt about his own
salvation. “Fear hath torment” (

1 John 4:18) and this is the opposite of
joy and salvation, of which “feasting” speaks. Little wonder then that there
are so many joyless professing Christians. How could it be otherwise?
“Rejoice” said Christ to the disciples, “that your names are written in
heaven” (

Luke 10:20). Until this joy of assurance is ours there cannot
be, we say again, any feasting upon Christ.
“And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a
memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord’s law may be in thy
mouth; for with a strong hand hath the Lord brought thee out of
Egypt” (

The Feast was a “sign” upon the hand, that is, it signified that their service
was consecrated to God. It was also a “memorial between the eyes”, that
is, upon the forehead, where all could see; which being interpreted,
signifies, an open manifestation of separation unto God. Finally, it was to
be accompanied with “the Lord’s law in their mouth”. The correlative of
“law” is obedience. God’s redeemed are not a lawless people. Said the
Lord Jesus, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (

John 14:15);
and as John tells us, “His commandments are not grievous” (

1 John
5:3). Those who insist so urgently that in no sense are Christians under
Law evidence a sad spirit of insubordination; it shows how much they are
affected and infected, with the spirit of lawlessness which now, alas, is so
prevalent on every side and in every realm..167
“And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the
Canaanites, as He sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give
it thee, That thou shalt set apart unto the Lord all that openeth the
matrix and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast;
the males shall be the Lord’s. And every firstling of an ass thou
shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou
shalt break his neck; and all the firstborn of man among thy children
shalt thou redeem”. (

The deep significance of this cannot be missed if we observe the
connection — that which precedes. In Exodus 12 we have had the
redemption of the “firstborn” of Israel, here it is the redemption of the
“firstling” of an ass. In the second verse of chapter 13 the two are
definitely joined together — “Sanctify unto Me all the firstborn,
whatsoever openeth the womb of the children of Israel, both of man and of
beast; it is Mine”. That there may be no mistaking what is in view here, the
Lord gave orders that the firstling of the ass was to be redeemed with a
lamb, just as the firstborn of Israel were redeemed with a lamb on the
passover night. Furthermore, the ass was to have its neck broken, that is it
was to be destroyed, unless redeemed; just as the Israelites would most
certainly have been smitten by the avenging Angel unless they had slain the
lamb and sprinkled its blood. The conclusion is therefore irresistible: God
here compares the natural man with the ass! Deeply humbling is this!
The “ass” is an unclean animal. Such is man by nature; shapen in iniquity
conceived in sin. The “ass” is a most stupid and senseless creature. So also
is the natural man. Proudly as he may boast of his powers of reason,
conceited as he may be over his intellectual achievements, the truth is, that
he is utterly devoid of any spiritual intelligence. What saith the Scriptures?
“Walk not as other Gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind, having
the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God
through the ignorance that is in them” (

Ephesians 4:17, 18).
“If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the
god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of them which
believe not” (

2 Corinthians 4:3, 4)..168
How accurately, then, does the “ass” picture the natural man! Again; the
“ass” is stubborn and intractable, often as hard to move as a mule. So also
is the natural man. The sinner is rebellious and defiant. He will not come to
Christ that he might have life (

John 5:40). It is in view of these things
that Scripture declares,
“For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s
colt” (

Job 11:12).
It is instructive to trace the various references to the “ass” in Scripture.
The first mention of the “ass” is in Genesis 22; from it we learn two things.
“Abraham rose up early in the morning and saddled his “ass” (v. 3). The
“ass” is not a free animal. It is a beast of burden, saddled. So, too, is the
sinner — “serving divers lusts”.
“And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the
ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship”

Genesis 22:5).
The “ass” did not accompany Abraham and Isaac to the place of worship.
Nor can the sinner worship God.
Third, in

Genesis 49:14 we read, “Issachar is a strong ass, couching
down between two burdens”. So, too, is the sinner — heavily “laden”

Matthew 11:28).
Fourth, God forbade His people to plow with an ox and ass together

Deuteronomy 22:10). The sinner is shut out from the service of God.
Fifth, in

1 Samuel 9:3 we are told, “And the asses of Kish Saul’s father
were lost”, and though Saul and his servant sought long for them they
recovered them not. The sinner, too, is lost, away from God, and no human
power can restore him.
Sixth, In

Jeremiah 22:19 we read,
“He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth
beyond the gates of Jerusalem”.
Fearfully solemn is this. The carcass of the ass was cast forth outside the
gates of the holy city. So shall it be with every sinner who dies outside of
Christ; he shall not enter the New Jerusalem, but be “cast into the Lake of.169
Fire”. The final reference to the “ass” is found in

Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice
greatly O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem, behold, thy
King cometh unto thee, He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding
upon an ass”. Most blessed contrast is this. Here we see the “ass” entering
Jerusalem, but only so as it was beneath the controlling hand of the Lord
Jesus! Here is the sinner’s only hope — to submit to Christ!

Genesis 16:12 we have a statement which is very pertinent in this
connection, though its particular force is lost in the A. V. rendering; we
quote therefore from the R. V., “And he shall be a wild-ass man among
men; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against
him”. Those were the words of the Lord to Sarah. They were a prophecy
concerning Ishmael. From Galatians 4 we learn that Ishmael stands for the
natural man, as Isaac for the believer, the seed of promise. In full accord,
then, with all that we have said above is this striking description of Sarah’s
“firstborn”; he was a wild-ass man. The Bedowin Arabs are his
descendants, and fully do they witness to the truth of this ancient prophecy.
But solemn is it to find that here we have God’s description of the natural
man. And more solemn still is what we read of Ishmael in Galatians 4; he
“persecuted him that was born after the Spirit” (v. 29), and in consequence
had to be “cast out” (v. 30).
In view of what has been said above, how marvelous the grace which
provided redemption for “the firstling of an ass”!
“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us” (

Romans 5:8).
Ah, dear reader, have you taken this place before God? Do you own that
the “ass” is an accurate portrayal of all that you are in yourself — unclean,
senseless, intractable, fit only to have your neck broken? Do the words of
the apostle suitably express the real sentiments of your heart —
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am
chief” (

1 Timothy 1:15)?
Or, are you like the self- righteous Pharisee, who said,
“God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners,
unjust, adulterers” (

Luke 18:11)?.170
Christ came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, (

5:32). He came “To seek and to save that which was lost” (

19:10). Again, we ask, Have you taken this place before God? Have you
come to Him with all your wretchedness — undone, corrupt, guilty, lost?
Have you abandoned all pretentions of worthiness and merit, and cast
yourself upon His undeserved mercy? Have you seen your own need of the
sinner’s Savior, and thankfully received Him? If you have, then will you
gladly “set to your seal that God is true”, and acknowledge that the “ass”
is a suitable figure to express what you were and still are by nature. And,
then, too, will you praise God for the matchless grace which redeemed
you, not with corruptible things as silver and gold,
“but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without
blemish and without spot” (

1 Peter 1:19).
Thank God for the Lamb provided for the ass. The more fully we realize
the accuracy of this figure, the more completely we are given to see how
ass-like we are in ourselves, the deeper will be our gratitude and the more
fervent our praise for the redemptive and perfect Lamb..171

EXODUS 12-14
“And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might
send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead
men. And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their
kneading-troughs being hound up in their clothes upon their
shoulders. And the children of Israel did according to the word of
Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and
jewels of gold, and raiment. And the Lord gave the people favor in
the sight of the Egyptians so that they lent unto them such things as
they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians” (

Exodus 12:33-
At last was fulfilled the promise made by Jehovah to Abraham more than
four hundred years before. He had said,
“Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is
not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four
hundred years” (

Genesis 15:13).
Literally had this been fulfilled. The experiences of Abraham’s seed in
Egypt was precisely as God had said. But He had also declared to
“And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and
afterward shall they come out with great substance” (

This, too, was now made good. There were no provisos. no ifs or
peradventures. “Afterward shall they come out with great substance.” So
God had decreed, so it came to pass. So had God promised, so He now
made good His word..172
“And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty
years. even the self-same day it came to pass that all the hosts of
the Lord went out from the land of Egypt” (

Upon this verse we commented briefly in our last paper. Those who went
forth from the land of bondage are here termed “the hosts of the Lord.”
Israel were the Lord’s hosts in a threefold way:
First, by covenant purpose, by the eternal choice of a predestinating God;
Second, by creation, who had made them for Himself;
Third, by purchase, for He had redeemed them by precious blood.
“And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the Lord did bring the
children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies’

The last three words in this quotation show that Israel did not issue from
Egypt as a disorderly mob. How could they, seeing that it was the Lord
who “brought them out!” God is riot the author of confusion. There is a
supplementary word in

13:18 which brings this out in further detail:
“The children of Israel went up by five in a rank (margin) out of the land
of Egypt.” A similar example of Divine orderliness is to be observed in
connection with our Lord feeding the hungry multitude. In

Mark 6:29
we are told that Christ commanded the disciples to “make all sit down by
companies upon the green grass. And we are told “they sat down in ranks,
by hundreds, and by fifties.” The fact that Israel went forth by “five in a
rank” exemplified and expressed God’s grace, for five in Scripture ever
speaks of grace or favor.
There is another word in

Psalm 105:37 which adds a beautiful touch to
the picture here before us. There we are told, “He brought them forth also
with silver and gold; and there was not one feeble person among their
tribes.” How this illustrates the need of diligently comparing Scripture with
Scripture if we would obtain the full teaching of the Word on any subject!
Nothing is said of this in the historical narratives of Exodus; it was
reserved for the Psalmist to tell us of this Divine miracle, for miracle it
certainly was, that not a single one in all that vast host was sickly or infirm..173
“And Moses took the hones of Joseph with him; for he had straitly
sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and
ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you” (

This was no ancestor or relic worship, but an act of faith, the declaration of
Joseph’s belief that the destination of Israel was to be the land which God
had promised to give to Abraham and his seed, which promise the faith of
Joseph had firmly laid hold of. During their long bondage in Egypt this
commandment which Joseph gave concerning “his bones” must have often
been the theme of converse in many of the Hebrew households; and now,
by taking with him the embalmed remains, Moses showed his sure
confidence that a grave would be found for them in the land of promise.
Nor was his confidence misplaced, as

Joshua 24:33 shows:
“And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up
out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem.”

Hebrews 11:22 tells us that this commandment which Joseph gave was
“by faith,” and here, hundreds of years after, we behold God’s response to
the faith of His servant. Moses had much to occupy him at this time. An
immense responsibility and undertaking was his — to organize the “armies
of Israel” and lead them forth in orderly array. But in simple dependence
Joseph had put his dying trust n the living God, and it was impossible that
he should be disappointed. Therefore did Jehovah bring to the mind of
Moses this command of Joseph, and caused him to carry it out. Blessed
demonstration was it of the faithfulness of God.
But what, we may ask, is the typical lesson in this for us? Every other
detail in the exodus of Israel from Egypt, as well as all that preceded and
followed it, has a profound significance and spiritual application to us.
What, then, is foreshadowed in Israel carrying the bones of Joseph with
them as they commenced their journey across the wilderness toward the
promised land? If we bear in mind that Joseph is a type of Christ the
answer will not be difficult to discover.

2 Corinthians 4:10 gives us the
N.T. interpretation: “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the
Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our
bodies.” It is the power of the cross applied to the mortal body which ever
craves present ease and enjoyment. It is only by “keeping under” the body
that the life of Jesus (the new nature) is manifested by us..174
“And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth,
about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children”

“Rameses means ‘child of the sun.’ It was a fortress the Israelites, as
slaves, had helped to build for the Egyptians. It was named after one of
their great kings, whose remains, as a mummy, are now in the British
Museum. He was the Pharaoh who oppressed Israel so cruelly, and the
father of the Pharaoh who pursued the Israelites and was drowned in the
Red Sea. He was a great warrior; he conquered Ethiopia and other lands.”
Typically, Rameses speaks of that system: ‘This present evil world,’ from
which the grace and power of God delivers His elect, that system over
which the mighty fallen angel, Satan, presides as Prince.
“So here, on the very threshold of their journey, we have a strange
and wonderful parable — a picture that everyone who knows the
rudiments of astronomy can appreciate. As the literal Israel was
called out of the domains of the ‘child of the sun’ to journey to a
land unknown to them, so is the spiritual Israel — the Church —
called out from the realm described in the book of Ecclesiastes as
‘under the sun’ — all this kingdom in which the planets
(‘wanderers’) move in their never-ceasing revolutions around the
sun — to go to that undiscovered realm, in which, because what of
it is visible to the eye is at such an inconceivable distance from us
that their movements can hardly be detected at all, we call them
fixed stars — that calm, immovable heaven of heavens that we see
gazing at us every night, unperturbed and untouched by anything
that can occur in our solar system of wanderers, where our earth,
like the rest, is a poor restless wanderer in a path that never arrives
anywhere. How graphically Solomon describes all our life ‘under
the sun’, its mirths, its cares, its toils, its joys, and its sorrows, as
unceasing ‘vanity and vexation of spirit’!….‘The thing that hath
been is that which shall be, and that which is done is that which
shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun’

Ecclesiastes 1:9).
“To that ‘third heaven,’ as Paul calls it (2 Corinthians 12), that
Paradise altogether beyond and free from any of the influences of
our planetary system, the believer is going. We belong not to the
world. Chosen in Christ before this world’s foundation, we belong.175
to an eternal realm beyond and apart from all men’s ambitions,
schemes, philosophies, religions (

Ephesians 1:4-10).
“Such a calling is mysterious. No wonder Paul, even when in the
very act of trying to explain it to us. lifts up an earnest prayer that a
spirit of wisdom and revelation might be given us, so that we might
be able to “know what is the hope of His calling’ (

1:18). It is all so new; it is all so unearthly; its doctrines, its maxims,
its hopes and fears, its rules of conduct, are all so different to what
is ‘under the sun’” (C. H. Bright).
“And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth.”
“Succoth” means “booths” or “tents.” This spoke plainly of the pilgrim
character of the journey which lay before them. This was one of the great
lessons learned by the first pilgrim: “Here have we no continuing city”

Hebrews 13:14); for
“by faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange
country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him
of the same promise.” (

Hebrews 11:3).
Booths are all that we have down here, for “our citizenship is in heaven”

Philippians 3:20). But, blessed be God, the day is now near at hand
when we shall exchange our temporary “tents” for the eternal “mansions”
of the Father’s House.
“And a mixed multitude went up also with them” (

12:38). Very solemn
is this; it was a wily move of the Enemy. Scripture presents him in two
chief characters — as the roaring lion and as the cunning serpent. The
former was exemplified by the cruel oppressions of Pharaoh; the latter, in
what is here before us. Satan tried hard to keep some, at least, of the
Israelites in Egypt; failing in this, he now sends some of the Egyptians to
accompany Israel to Canaan! This “mixed multitude” would doubtless be
made up of Egyptians and others of different nations who resided in Egypt.
A variety of causes and motives might prompt them. Some, through inter-marriages
with the Israelites (

Leviticus 24:10), and now loth to part
with their relatives; others, because afraid to remain any longer in a land so
sorely afflicted with Divine judgments, and now rendered desolate and
untenable; others, because quick to perceive that such wonders wrought on
behalf of the Hebrews plainly marked them out as a people who were the
favorites of Heaven, and therefore deemed it good policy to throw in their.176
lot with them (cf. 9:20). But it was not long before this “mixed multitude”
proved a thorn in the side of Israel. It was this same “mixed multitude”
who first became dissatisfied with the manna and influenced Israel to
murmur. (See

Numbers 11:4.)
It has been well said that “when a movement of God takes place men are
wrought upon by other motives than those by which the Holy Spirit stirs
the renewed heart, and a mass attach themselves to those who are led
forth.” Witness the fact that when God “called Abraham alone” (

51:2), Terah (his father) and Lot (his nephew) accompanied him

Genesis 11:31). Witness the Gibeonites making a league with Joshua
(Joshua 9). So, too, we find that after the Jewish remnant returned from
the captivity “a mixed multitude” joined themselves to Israel (

5:17), though later “they separated from Israel all the mixed multitudes”

Nehemiah 13:3). So, too, we read of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to John the Baptist (

Matthew 3:7)! And these things are
recorded for our “learning.” This fellowshiping of believers with
unbelievers, this sufferance of the ungodly among the congregation of the
Lord, has been the great bane of God’s saints in every age, the source of
their weakness, and the occasion of much of their failure. It is because of
this the Spirit of God says,
“wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate”

2 Corinthians 6:17).
“And it came to pass when Pharaoh had let the people go that God
led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines,
although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people
repent when they see war and they return to Egypt” (

How this reminds us of

Psalm 103:13, 14:
“Like as a father pitieth his children, so that Lord pitieth them that
fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are
This people who had spent many long years in slavery were now starting
out for the promised land, and it is beautiful to see this tender concern for
them. It exemplifies a principle of general application in connection with
the Lord’s dealings with His people. The Lord is not only very
compassionate, but His mercies are “tender” (

James 5:11). The Lord
does not suffer His “babes” to be tested as severely as those who are more.177
mature; witness the various trials to which He subjected Abraham — the
command for him to offer Isaac was not the first but the last great test
which he received. It was so here with Israel. Later, there would be much
fighting when Canaan was reached, but at the beginning He led them not
the way of the land of the Philistines, for that would have involved warfare.
He had respect unto their weakness and timidity.
“The Lord, in His condescending grace, so orders things for His
people that they do not, at their first setting out, encounter heavy
trials, which might have the effect of discouraging their hearts and
driving them back.” (C.H.M.)
“God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines.” This is
the first thing noticed by the Holy Spirit after Israel left the land of Egypt
— God chose the way for His people through the wilderness. Unspeakably
blessed is this. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He
delighteth in his way (

Psalm 37:23). We are not left alone to choose our
own path.
“As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God”

Romans 8:14).
And what is it that the Spirit uses in His leading of us to-day? In this, as in
everything, it is the written Word — “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet,”
to reveal the pitfalls and obstacles of the way, “and a light unto my path”
— to make clear the by-paths to be avoided (

Psalm 119:105). What a
full provision has been made for us! Nothing is left to chance, nothing to
our own poor reasoning —
“we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good
works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in
them” (

Ephesians 2:10).
“But God led the people about through the way of the wilderness
of the Red Sea (

It is often said that the “wilderness had no place in the purpose of God for
Israel. But this is certainly erroneous. It was God Himself who led the
people round about “the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.” It was
God’s original intention that Israel should take exactly the route which
they actually followed. Not only is this evident from the fact that the Pillar
of Cloud led them each step of their journey to Canaan, but it was plainly.178
intimated by the Lord to Moses before the exodus took place. At the very
first appearing of Jehovah to His servant at Horeb (

Exodus 3:1 — see
our note on this in Article 4), He declared, “When thou has brought forth
the people out of Egypt ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” God’s
purpose in leading Israel to Canaan through the wilderness, instead of via
the land of the Philistines, was manifested in the sequel. In the first place, it
was in order that His marvelous power might be signally displayed on their
behalf in bringing them safely through the Red Sea. In the second place, it
was in order that Pharaoh and his hosts might there be destroyed. In the
third place, it was in order that they might receive Jehovah’s laws in the
undisturbed solitude of the desert. In the fourth place, it was in order that
they might be properly organized into a Commonwealth and Church-state

Acts 7:53) prior to their entrance into and occupation of the land of
Canaan. Finally, it was in order that they might be humbled, tried, and
proved (

Deuteronomy 8:2, 3), and the sufficiency of their God in every
emergency might be fully demonstrated.
“And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in
Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before
them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by
night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night”

13:20, 21).
Very precious is this. Just as Jehovah — the covenant God, the promising
God, the One who heard the groanings of Israel, the One who raised up a
deliverer for them — reminds us of God the Father, just as the Lamb —
without spot and blemish, slain and its blood sprinkled, securing protection
and deliverance from the avenging angel — typifies God the Son; so this
Pillar of Cloud — given to Israel for their guidance across the wilderness
— speaks to us of God the Holy Spirit. Amazingly full, Divinely perfect,
are these O.T. foreshadowings. At every point the teaching of the N.T. is
anticipated. But the anointed eye is needed to perceive the hidden meaning
of these primitive pictures. Much prayerful searching is necessary if we are
to discern their spiritual signification.
This “pillar” was the visible sign of the Lord’s presence with Israel. It is
called “a pillar of cloud” and “a pillar of fire.” Apparently its upper portion
rose up to heaven in the form of a column; its lower being spread out
cloudwise, over Israel’s camp. Note how in

Exodus 14:24 the two
descriptive terms are combined, showing that the “pillar” did not change its.179
form, as a “cloud” by day and a “fire” by night as is popularly supposed;
but, as stated above, it was one — a “pillar of fire” in its upper portion, a
“cloud” below.” It is clear, though, from subsequent scriptures

Numbers 14:14, etc.), that the whole “cloud” was illuminative by
night-time “to give them light in the way wherein they should go”

Nehemiah 9:12). Let us now consider some of the points in which the
Cloud typified the Holy Spirit.
1. The “Cloud” was not given to Israel until they had been delivered from
Egypt. First, the slaying of the Pascal Lamb, then the giving of the Cloud.
This is the order of the N.T. First, the death of God’s Lamb, followed by
His resurrection and ascension, and then the public descent of the Holy
Spirit on the day of Pentecost. So, also, is it in Christian experience. There
is first the sinner appropriating by faith the death of Christ, and then the
coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell that soul. It is on the ground of
Christ’s shed blood — not because of any moral fitness in us — that the
Spirit of God seals us unto the day of redemption. Strikingly is this order
observed in the epistle to the Romans — the great doctrinal treatise of the
N.T. There, as nowhere else so fully, is unfolded God’s method of
salvation. But it is not until after the believing sinner is “justified” (

that we read of the Spirit of God. In

2:4-10 we get repentance; in

3:22-28, faith; and then in

5:5 we read, “the love of God is shed
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us!”
2. The ‘Cloud” was God’s gracious gift to Israel. No word is said about
the people asking for this Guide. It came to them quite unsought, as a
tender provision of God’s mercy. Do we not find the same thing in the
Gospels? At the close of His mission the Lord Jesus told the disciples of
His departure, of His return to the Father. And though we read of them
being troubled and sorrowful, yet there is no hint that any of the apostles
requested Him to send them another Comforter. The purpose to do this
proceeded alone from Himself —
“I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter”

John 4:16).
3. The Cloud was given to guide Israel through their wilderness journey.
What a merciful provision was this — an infallible Guide to conduct them
through the tract-less desert!.180
“The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead
them the way” (

Exodus 13:21).
In like manner, the Holy Spirit has been given to Christians to direct their
steps along the Narrow Way which leadeth unto life. “As many as are led
by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (

Romans 8:14).
4. The Cloud gave light. “And by night in a pillar of fire to give them light”

Exodus 13:21). Beautifully does Nehemiah remind their descendants of
this hundreds of years later:
“Thou leadest them in the day by a cloudy pillar and in the night by
a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should
go” (

Nehemiah 9:12).
By day or by night Israel was “thoroughly furnished.” For a similar purpose
is the Holy Spirit given to Christians. He is
“the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and
might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord”

Isaiah 11:2).
Said the Lord to His apostles,
“When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all
the truth” (

John 16:13).
5. The Cloud was given for a covering: “He spread a cloud for a covering”

Psalm 105:39). This Cloud was for Israel’s protection from the
scorching heat of the sun in the sandy desert where there was no screen.
Beautifully has this been commented upon by one who knew from an
experience of contrast the blessedness of this merciful provision of God for
Israel: “To appreciate what the cloud was to Israel, we must transport
ourselves in imagination to a rainless country like Egypt. We lived many
years on the coast of Peru — hundreds of miles as rainless as Egypt. We
recalled with horror that some English hymn writer had sung the glories of
a “cloudless sky, a waveless sea.” In a small schooner, becalmed under a
tropical sun off the coast of Equador, we tasted the awfulness of a
waveless sea, and in Peru for half the year we had a cloudless sky, and
rainless always. How beautiful the distant clouds looked, away off there on
the peaks of the lofty Andes. We could not but feel, ‘What must be the
soothingness of bring under a cloud like those Indians who lived up there.181
in that happy fertile region of clouds amid the valleys and mountains!’
Therefore, that cloud must have been a welcome sight to those ex-slaves,
accustomed to labor in the fields under the sun of Egypt. It was a proof to
them of the all-mighty power of Jehovah. He could give them a cloud
where there was nothing in Nature to form clouds. He could furnish a
shelter to His people when no other people had a shelter (C. H. Bright).
So, too, is the Holy Spirit our Protector — we are “sealed unto the day of
redemption” (

Ephesians 4:30).
6. God spoke from the Cloud: “He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar

Psalm 99:7). The Psalmist is here referring back to such passages as

Exodus 33:9 —
“And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the
cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle,
and the Lord talked with Moses” (

Numbers 12:5).
In like manner the Holy Spirit is to-day the Spokesman for the Holy
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the
churches” (

Revelation 2:3).
7. This Cloud was darkness to the Egyptians:
“And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of
Israel. and it was a cloud and darkness to them” (

Fearfully solemn is this. God not only reveals, but He also conceals:
“At that time Jesus answered and said. I thank Thee, O Father.
Lord of, Heaven and Earth, because Thou host hid these things
from the wise and prudent” (

Matthew 11:25).
It is so with the Holy Spirit — “The Spirit of truth whom the world cannot
receive” (

John 14:17).
8. This Cloud rested upon the Tabernacle as soon as it was erected.
“So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the
congregation. and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle, and
Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation
because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled
the Tabernacle” (

Exodus 40:33-35)..182
How strikingly this foreshadowed the coming of the Holy Spirit upon that
Blessed One who tabernacled among men, of Whom it is written, “We
beheld His glory (

John 1:14). So, too, the Holy Spirit came upon the
twelve apostles on the day of Pentecost and they were all filled with the
Holy Spirit” (

Acts 2:4).
9. All through Israel’s wilderness wanderings this Cloud was never taken
away from them:
“Yet Thou in Thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the
wilderness; the pillar of the cloud departed not from them”

Nehemiah 9:19).
Despite all Israel’s failures — their murmurings, their unbelief, their
rebellion — God never withdrew the Cloudy Pillar! So, too, of the Holy
Spirit given to believers the sure promise is,
“He shall give you another Comforter, that He may (should) abide
with you forever” (

John 14:16).
10. It is blessed to learn that the Cloud shall once more descend upon and
dwell among Israel. When God regathers His scattered people, when He
resumes His covenant relationship with them, and brings them to a saving
knowledge of their Messiah-Redeemer, then shall be fulfilled the ancient
“When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters
of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the
midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.
And the Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of mount Zion,
and upon her assemblies, a Cloud and smoke by day and a shining
of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the Glory shall be a defense”

Isaiah 4:6).
What a truly marvelous type of the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit
was the fiery and cloudy “pillar.183

In this lesson we are to have for our consideration one of the most
remarkable miracles recorded in the O.T., certainly the most remarkable in
connection with the history of Israel. From this point onwards, whenever
the servants of God would remind the people of the Lord’s power and
greatness, reference is almost always made to what He wrought for them at
the Red Sea. Eight hundred years afterwards the Lord says through Isaiah,
“I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared;
the Lord of hosts in His name” (

Isaiah 51:15).
Nahum announced,
“The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the
clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it
dry.” (

Nahum 1:3, 4).
When the Lord renewed His promise to Israel, He takes them back to this
time and says, “According to the days of thy coming out of the Land of
Egypt will I show unto him marvellous things” (Mich. 7:15 and cf.

Joshua 24:6, 7:

Nehemiah 9:9;

Psalm 106:7, 8;

31:35, etc.). It was this notable event which made such a great impression
upon the enemies of the Lord:
“For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red
Sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the
two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan,
Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed, and as soon as we have
heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any
more courage in any man because of you; for the Lord your God,
He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath” (

Joshua 2:10,
The miracle of the Red Sea occupies a similar place in the O.T. scriptures
as the resurrection of the Lord Jesus does in the New; it is appealed to as a
standard of measurement, as the supreme demonstration of God’s power

Ephesians 1:19, etc.). Little wonder, then, that each generation of
infidels has directed special attacks against this miracle. But to the
Christian, miracles occasion no difficulty. The great difference between
faith and unbelief is that one brings in God, the other shuts Him out. With
God all things are possible. Bring in God and supernatural displays of
power are to be expected.
Before we consider the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, we must first
give a brief notice to what preceded it. Exodus 14 opens by telling us,
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children
of Israel that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between
Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon; before it shall ye
encamp by the sea” (vv.

1, 2).
In this word God commanded Israel to turn off from the route they were
following, and encamp before the Red Sea. Many attempts have been made
to ascertain the precise location, but after such a lapse of time and the
changes incident upon the passing of the centuries It seems a futile effort.
The third verse tells us all that it is necessary for us to know, and the
information it supplies is far more accurate and reliable than any human
geographies Israel were “shut in by the wilderness,” and the Red Sea
stretched before them. Thus Israel were so placed that there was no human
way of escape. In the mountain fastnesses they might have had a chance;
but surrounded by the wilderness, it was useless to flee before the cavalry
and chariots of Egypt.
“Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp
before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon;
before it shall ye encamp by the sea” (

Here, as everywhere in Scripture, these names are full of meaning. They
are in striking accord with what follows. “Pi-hahiroth” is rendered by
Ritchie “Place of Liberty.” Such indeed it proved to be, for it was here that
Israel were finally delivered from those who had long held them in cruel
bondage. “Migdol” signifies “a tower” or “fortress.” Such did Jehovah
demonstrate Himself to be unto His helpless and attacked people.
Newberry gives “Lord of the North” as the meaning of “Baal-zephon,” and.185
in scripture the “north” is frequently associated with judgment (cf.

Joshua 8:11, 13;

Isaiah 14:31;

Jeremiah 1:14, 4:6; 6:1

1:4, etc.). It was as the Lord of Judgment that Jehovah was here seen at
the Red Sea.
“For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled
in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in” (

How this brings out the inveteracy of unbelief! How it demonstrates the
folly of human reasoning! Granting that Israel were “entangled in the land,”
that they were “shut in” by the wilderness, that they were trapped before
the Red Sea, did Pharaoh suppose that they would fall easy victims before
his onslaught? What of Israel’s God? Had He not already shown Himself
strong on their behalf? Had He not already shown Egypt that those who
persecuted His covenant people “touched the apple of His eye”

Zechariah 2:8)! What a fool man is? How he disregards every warning?
How determined he is to destroy himself? So it was here with Pharaoh and
his army. Notwithstanding the ten plagues which had swept his land, he
now marches out against Jehovah’s redeemed to consume them in the
“And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that be shall follow after them;
and I will be honored upon Pharaoh, and upon all his hosts; that the
Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so”

Here was God’s reason for commanding Israel to “encamp by the sea.”
“Terrible as Egypt’s chastisements had been, something more was
still needed to bumble her proud king and his arrogant subjects
under the felt band of God, and to remove from Israel all further
fear of molestation. There was one part of Egypt’s strength, their
chief glory, which had so far escaped. Their triumphant army had
not been touched. Moses is told that, when Pharaoh’s spies carried
the tidings to him that the Israelites had gone down by the Egyptian
shore, it would seem to the king that his hour for vengeance had
come. A force advancing rapidly upon the rear of the Israelites
would block their only way of escape, and so the helpless multitude
would be at his mercy” (Urquhart).
“And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled; and the
heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people,.186
and then said, Why have we done this, that we have left Israel go
from serving us? And he made ready his chariot, and took his
people with him; and be took six hundred chosen chariots, and all
the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. And the
Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he pursued
after the children of Israel ; and the children of Israel went out with
an high hand. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses
and chariots of Pharaoh and his horsemen and his army, and
overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before
Baal-Zephon” (vv. 5-9).
All happened as God had foretold. Pharaoh and his courtiers became
suddenly alive to their folly in having permitted Israel to go, and now a
splendid opportunity seems to be afforded them to retrieve their error. The
army is summoned in hot haste, Pharaoh and his nobles arm and mount
their chariots. The famous cavalry of Egypt sally forth with all their glory.
Not only the king, but his servants also, the very ones who had entreated
him to let Israel go (

10:7), are urgent that Israel should he pursued and
captured. The judgments of God being no more upon their land, and
recollecting the great service the Hebrews had rendered them, the
advantages of having them for slaves, and the loss sustained by parting
with them, they are now anxious to recover them as speedily as possible.
“And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their
eyes and behold the Egyptians marched after them; and they were
sore afraid; and the children of Israel cried out Unto the Lord. And
they said unto Moses, because there were no graves in Egypt hast
thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou
dealt with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word
that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may
serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the
Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness” (vv. 10-12).
This was a sore trial of faith, and sadly did Israel fail in the hour of testing.
Alas! that this should so often be the case with us. After all God had done
on their behalf in Egypt, they surely had good reason to trust in Him now.
After such wondrous displays of Divine power, and after their own
gracious deliverance from the Angel of Death, their present fear and
despair were inexcusable. But how like ourselves! Our memories are so
short. No matter how many times the Lord has delivered us in the past, no.187
matter how signally His power has been exerted on our behalf, when some
new trial comes upon us we forget God’s previous interventions, and are
swallowed up by the greatness of our present emergency.
“And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their
eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them. (v. 10).
Their eyes were upon the Egyptians, and in consequence they were ‘sore
afraid.’ It is always thus. The only cure for fear is for the eye to remain
steadfastly fixed on the Lord. To be occupied with our circumstances and
surroundings is fatal to our peace. It was so in the case of Peter as he
started to walk on the waters to Christ. While he kept his gaze upon the
Lord he was safe; but as soon as he became occupied with the winds and
the waves, he began to sink.
“And they were sore afraid; and the children of Israel cried out unto
the Lord” (v. 10).
Had they prayed unto God in this their distress for help and assistance,
protection and preservation, with a holy yet humble confidence in Him,
their crying had been right and laudable; but it is clear from the next two
verses that theirs was the cry of complaint and despair, rather than of faith
and hope. It closely resembles the attitude and action of the disciples in the
storm-tossed ship as they awoke the Master and said, “Carest Thou not
that we perish?” How solemn it is to see that such unbelief, such despair,
such murmuring, can proceed from the people of God! How the realization
that we have the same evil hearts within us should humble us before Him.
“And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in
Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore
hast thou dealt thus with us to carry us out of Egypt?” (v. 11).
How absurd are the reasonings of unbelief! If death at the hands of the
Egyptians was to be their lot, why had Jehovah delivered them from the
land of bondage? The fact that He had led them out of Egypt was evidence
enough that He was not going to allow them to fall before their enemies.
Besides, the Lord had promised they should worship Him in Mount Horeb

3:12). How, then, could they now perish in the wilderness? But where
faith is not in exercise, the promises of God bring no comfort and afford no
stay to the heart..188
Israel had been brought into their present predicament by God Himself. It
was the Pillar of Cloud which had led them to where they were now
encamped. Important truth for us to lay hold of. We must not expect the
path of faith to be an easy and smooth one. Faith must be tested, tested
severely. But, why? That we may learn the sufficiency of our God! That
we may prove from experience that He is able to supply our every need

Philippians 4:19), make a way of escape from every temptation (

Corinthians 10:13), and do for us exceedingly abundantly above all that we
ask or think.
“Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us
alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for
us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness”
(v. 12).
Behind the rage of Pharaoh and his hosts who were pursuing the Israelites,
we are to see the enmity of Satan against those whom Divine grace has
delivered from his toils. It is not until a sinner is saved that the spite of the
Devil is directed against him who till recently was his captive. It is now that
he goes forth as a roaring lion seeing to devour Christ’s lamb. Beautiful it
is to see here the utter failure of the enemy’s efforts. Now that the Divine
righteousness had been satisfied by the blood of the Lamb, it was solely a
question between God and the Enemy. Israel had to do no fighting — God
fought for them, and the enemy was utterly defeated. This is one of the
outstanding lessons of Exodus 14 — “If God be for us who can be against
Vitally important it is for the believer to lay firm hold on this soul-sustaining
truth. How often it occurs (exceptions must surely be few in
number) that as soon as a sinner has fled to Christ for refuge, Satan it once
lets fly his fiery darts. The young believer is tempted now as he never was
in his unregenerate days; his mind is filled with evil thoughts and doubts,
and he is terrified by the roaring of the “lion,” until he wonders who is
really going to gain possession of his soul — God or Satan. This was
precisely the issue raised here at the Red Sea. It Looked as though Jehovah
had deserted His people. It seemed as though they must fall victims to their
powerful and merciless foes. But how deceptive are appearances? How
quickly and how easily the Lord Almighty reversed the situation? The
sequel shows us all Israel safe on the other side of the Red Sea, and all the.189
Egyptians drowned therein! But how was this brought about? Of deep
moment is every word that follows.
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see
the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you today; for the
Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no
more forever” (v. 13).
The first word was, “Fear not.” The servant of God would quieten their
hearts and set them in perfect peace before Him. “Fear not” is one of the
great words recurring all through the Scriptures. “Fear not” was what God
said to Abraham (

Genesis 15:1). “Fear not, neither be thou dismayed”
was His message to Joshua (

8:1). “Fear not” was His command to
Gideon (

Judges 16:23). “Fear not” was David’s counsel to Solomon

1 Chronicles 28:20). This will be the word of the Jewish remnant in a
day to come: “Be strong, fear not, behold, your God will come” (

35:4). “Fear not” was the angel’s counsel to Daniel (

10:12). “Fear not
little flock” is the Lord’s message to us (

Luke 12:32). “I will fear no
evil” said the Psalmist (

23:4), “for Thou art with me.” But how is this
to be attained? How is the heart to be established in peace? Does not

Isaiah 26:3 sum it all up — “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose
mind is stayed in Thee because He trusteth in Thee.”
“Stand still” was the next word of Moses to Israel. All attempts at self-help
must end. All activities of the flesh must cease. The workings of nature
must be subdued. Here is the right attitude of faith in the presence of a trial
— ”stand still.” This is impossible to flesh and blood. All who know, in any
measure, the restlessness of the human heart under anticipated trial and
difficulty, will be able to form some conception of what is involved in
standing still. Nature must be doing something. It will rush hither and
thither. It would feign have some hand in the matter. And although it may
attempt to justify and sanctify its worthless doings, by bestowing upon
them the imposing and popular title of “a legitimate use of means,” yet are
they the plain and positive fruits of unbelief, which always shut out God,
and sees nought save every dark cloud of its own creation. Unbelief creates
or magnifies difficulties, and then sets us about removing them by our own
bustling and fruitless actions, which, in reality, do but raise a dust around
us which prevents our seeing God’s salvation.
“Faith, on the contrary, raises the soul above the difficulty, straight
to God Himself, and enables one to ‘stand still.’ We gain nothing by.190
our restless and anxious efforts. We cannot make one hair white or
black, nor add one cubit to our stature, What could Israel do at the
Red Sea! Could they dry it up? Could they level the mountains?
Could they annihilate the hosts of Egypt? Impossible! There they
were, enclosed within an impenetrable wall of difficulties, in view
of which nature could but tremble and feel its own impotency. But
this was just the time for God to act. When unbelief is driven from
the scene, then God can enter; and in order to get a proper view of
His actings, we must ‘stand still.’ Every movement of nature is, so
far as it goes, a positive hindrance to our perception and enjoyment
of Divine interference on our behalf” (C.H.M.).
“And see the salvation of the Lord.” It is surprising how many have,
missed the point here. Most of the commentators regard this word as
signifying that Israel were to remain passive until the waters of the Red Sea
should be cleft asunder. But this is clearly erroneous.

Hebrews 11:29
tells us that it was “by faith they passed through the Red Sea,” and faith is
the opposite of sight. The mistake arises from jumping to the conclusion
that “see the salvation of the Lord” refers to physical sight. It was spiritual
sight that Moses referred to, the exercising of the eyes of the heart. Faith is
a looking not at the things which are seen, but a looking “at the things
which are not seen” (

2 Corinthians 4:18) — strange paradox to the
natural man! As we read in

Hebrews 11:13, “These all died in faith, not
having received the promises, but having seen them afar off.” And of
Moses we read, “he endured as seeing Him who is invisible” (

11:13) — that is, seeing Him with the eyes of faith. To “see the salvation
of the Lord” we must first “stand still” — all fleshly activity must cease.
We have to be still if we would know that God is God (

Psalm 46:10).
“For the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them
again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall
hold your peace” (vv. 13, 14).
Notice the repeated use of the future tense here: “He will show you….ye
shall see them again no more…. the Lord shall fight for you.” How this
confirms what we have just said. Jehovah’s “salvation” had first to be seen
by the eye of faith before it would be seen with the eye of sense. That
“salvation” must first be revealed to and received by “the hearing of faith.”
“Which He will show you to-day” was the ground of their faith. Striking
are the closing words of verse 14: “and ye shall hold your peace,” or, as.191
some render it, “ye shall keep silence.” Six hundred thousand men, besides
women and children, were to remain motionless in the profound silence
which befitted them in a scene where so unparalleled a drama was to be
enacted, moving neither hand, foot, nor tongue! How well calculated was
such an order to draw the trembling heart of Israel away from a fatal
occupation with its own exigencies to faith in the Lord of hosts!
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto Me?
Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward” (v. 15).
“Go forward” does not contradict, but complements the “stand still.” This
is ever the spiritual order. We are not ready to “go forward” until we have
first “stood still” and seen the salvation of the Lord. Moreover, before the
command was given to “Go forward” there was first the promise, “see the
salvation of the Lord which He will show “you today.” Faith must be based
on the Divine promise, and obedience to the command must spring from
the faith thus produced. Before we are ready to “go forward” faith must
see that which is invisible, namely, the “salvation of the Lord.” and this,
before it is actually wrought for us. Thus “by faith Abraham went out, not
knowing whither he went” (

Hebrews 11:8).
“But lift thou up thy rod and stretch out thine hand over the sea,
and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground
through the midst of the sea And Moses stretched out his hand aver
the sea: and the Lord caused the sea to go hack by a strong east
wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were
divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea
upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them on their
right hand and on their left hand” (vv. 16-21, 22).
The best commentary upon this is

Hebrews 11:29: “By faith they
passed through the Red Sea as by dry land.” From this it is very clear that
the waters of the Red Sea did not begin to divide until the feet of the
Israelites came to their very brink, otherwise the” would have crossed by
sight, and not “by faith.” Equally clear is it that the sea was not divided
throughout at once. As another has said, “It does not require faith to begin
a journey when I can see all the way through; but to begin when I can
merely see the first step, this is faith. The sea opened as Israel moved
forward, so that every fresh step they needed to be cast upon God. Such
was the path along which the redeemed of the Lord moved, under His own
directing hand.” So it was then; such is the true path of faith now. It is.192
beautiful to observe another word in

Hebrews 11:29 — “The children
of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea.” They did not rush
through at top speed. There was no confusion. With absolute confidence in
the Lord they crossed in orderly procession.
“And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of
the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked
unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the
cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, and took off their
chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians
said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for
them against the Egyptians. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch
out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon
the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And
Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to
his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled
against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the
sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the
horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after
them; there remained not so much as one of them” (vv. 23-28).
The practical lesson to be learned from this is very plain: Those who
attempt to do without faith, what believers succeed to do by faith — those
who seek to obtain by their own efforts, what believers obtain by faith —
will assuredly fail. By faith, the believer obtains peace with God; but all of
the unbeliever’s efforts to obtain peace by good works, are doomed to
disappointment. Believers are sanctified by the truth (

John 17:19); those
who aim to arrive at holiness without believing are following a will o’ the
wisp. In the little space that remains let us summarize some of the many
lessons our passage sets forth.
Typically the crossing of the Red Sea speaks of Christ making a way
through death for His people.
“The Red Sea is the figure of death — the boundary-line of Satan’s
power” (Ritchie).
Note the words of God to Moses:.193
“Lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea. and
divide it; and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through
the midst of the sea” (v. 16).
Moses is plainly a type of Christ, the “rod” a symbol of His power and
authority. The Red Sea completely destroyed the power of Pharaoh (Satan)
over God’s people.

Hebrews 2:14 gives us the antitype — ”That
through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is,
the Devil.” The effect of Moses lifting up his rod and stretching forth his
hand is blessed to behold —
“And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the
dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right
hand, and on their left” (v. 22).
Not only had that which symbolized death no power over Israel, but it was
now a defense to them! This very sea, which at first they so much feared,
became the means of their deliverance from the Egyptians; and instead of
proving their enemy became their friend. So if death overtakes the believer
before the Lord’s return it only serves to bring him into the presence of
Christ —
“Whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or
death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours”

1 Corinthians 3:22).
But deeply solemn is the other side of the picture: “By faith they passed
through the Red Sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do,
were drowned,” for the natural man to meet death in the power of human
confidence is certain destruction.
“Evangelically the crossing of the Red Sea tells of the completeness of our
salvation. It is the sequel to the Passover-night, and both are needed to
give us a full view of what Christ has wrought for us. In

Hebrews 9:27
we read, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the
judgment.” For the believer this order is reversed, as it was with his
Substitute. It was during the three awful hours of darkness, while He hung
on the cross, that the Lord Jesus endured the “judgment” of God against
our sins. Having passed through the fires of God’s wrath, He then “yielded
up the spirit.” So in our type. On the Passover-night, we see Israel
sheltered by blood from the judgment of God — the avenging angel; here
at the Red Sea, we behold them brought safely through the place of death..194
The order is reversed for the unbeliever. “After death the judgment” for
“Doctrinally the passage through the Red Sea sets forth the believer’s
union with Christ in His death and resurrection. “I am crucified with
Christ” (

Galatians 2:20), refers to our judicial identification with our
Substitute, not to experience. That Israel passed through the Red Sea, and
emerged safely on the far side, tells of resurrection. So we read in

Romans 6:5,
“If we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we
shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
And again,
“When we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with
Christ, and raised us up together” (

Ephesians 2:5, 6).
Practically the deliverance of Israel from the Red Sea illustrates the
absolute sufficiency of our God. The believer to-day may be hemmed in on
every side. A Red Sea of trial and trouble may confront him. But let him
remember that Israel’s God is his God. When His time comes, it will be an
easy matter for Him to cleave a way through for you. Take comfort from
His promise:
“When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and
through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee” (

Isaiah 43:2).
God can protect His people in the greatest difficulties and dangers and
make a way of deliverance for them out of the most desperate situations.
Dispensationally the passing of Israel through the Red Sea foreshadows
the yet suture deliverance and restoration of the Jews. The “sea” is a well
known figure of the Gentiles (

Psalm 65:7;

Daniel 7:2;

17:15) Among the Gentiles the seed of Abraham have long been scattered,
and to the eye of sense it has seemed that they would be utterly swallowed
up. But marvelously has God preserved the Jews all through these many
centuries. The “sea” has not consumed them. They still dwell as “a people
apart” (

Numbers 23:9). and the time is coming when Jehovah will fulfill
the promises made to their fathers (

Ezekiel 20:34; 37:21, etc.). When
these promises are fulfilled our type will receive its final accomplishment.
Israel shall be brought safely out of the “sea” of the Gentiles, into their own

Exodus 15 contains the first song recorded in Scripture. Well has it been
“It is presumably the oldest poem in the world, and in sublimity of
conception and grandeur of expression, it is unsurpassed by
anything that has been written since. It might almost be said that
poetry here sprang full-grown from the heart of Moses, even as
heathen mythology fables Minerva come full-armed from the brain
of Jupiter. Long before the ballads of Homer were sung through the
streets of the Grecian cities, or the foundation of the Seven-hilled
metropolis of the ancient world was laid by the banks of the Tiber,
this matchless ode, in comparison with which Pindar is tame, was
chanted by the leader of the emancipated Hebrews on the Red Sea
shore; and yet we have in it no polytheism, no foolish mythological
story concerning gods and goddesses, no gilding of immorality, no
glorification of mere force; but, instead, the firmest recognition of
the personality, the supremacy, the holiness, the retributive
rectitude of God. How shall we account for all of this? If we admit
the Divine legation and inspiration of Moses, all is plain; if we deny
that, we have in the very existence of this Song, a hopeless and
insoluble enigma. Here is a literary miracle, as great as the physical
sign of the parting of the Sea. When you see a boulder of immense
size, and of a different sort of stone from those surrounding it, lying
in a valley, you immediately conclude that it has been brought
hither by glacier action many, many ages ago. But here is a
boulder-stone of poetry, standing all alone in the Egyptian age, and
differing entirely in its character from the sacred hymns either of
Egypt or of India. Where did it come from? Let the rationalist
furnish his reply; for me it is a boulder from the Horeb height
whereon Moses communed with the great I AM — when he saw.196
the bush that burned but yet was not consumed — and left here as
at once a witness to his inspiration, and the nations’ gratitude” (W.
M. Taylor, Moses the Law-giver).
This first Song of Scripture has been rightly designated the Song of
Redemption, for it proceeded from the hearts of a redeemed people. Now
there are two great elements in redemption, two parts to it. we may say:
redemption is by purchase and by power. Redemption therefore differs
from ransoming, though they are frequently confounded. Ransoming is but
a part of redemption. The two are clearly distinguished in Scripture. Thus

Hosea 13:14 the Lord Jesus by the Spirit of Prophecy declares,
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem
them from death.”
And again we read,
“For the Lord bath redeemed Jacob and ransomed him from the
hand of him that was stronger than he” (

Jeremiah 31:11).
So in

Ephesians 1:14 we read, “which is the earnest of our inheritance
until the redemption of the purchased possession.”
Ransoming is the payment of the price; redemption, in the full sense, is the
deliverance of the persons for whom the price was paid. It is the latter
which is the all-important item. Of what use is the ransom if the captive be
not released? Without actual emancipation there will be no song of praise.
Who would ever thank a ransomer that left him in bondage? The Greek
word for “Redemption” is rendered “deliverance” in

Hebrews 11:35 —
“And others were tortured not accepting deliverance.” “Not accepting
deliverance” means release from their affliction, i.e., not accepting it on the
terms of their persecutors, namely, upon condition of apostasy. The
twofold nature of Redemption is the key to that wondrous and glorious
vision described in Revelation 5. The “book” there, is the Redeemer’s title-deeds
to the earth. Hence his dual character; “Lamb” — the Purchaser;
“Lion” — the powerful Emancipator.
On the Passover-night Israel were secured from the doom of the Egyptians;
at the Red Sea they were delivered from the Power of the Egyptians. Thus
delivered — “redeemed” they sang. It is only a redeemed people,
conscious of their deliverance, that can really praise Jehovah, the Deliverer.
Not only is worship impossible for those yet dead in trespasses and sins,.197
but intelligent worship cannot be rendered by professing Christians who are
in doubt as to their standing before God. And necessarily so. Praise and joy
are essential elements of worship; but how can those who question their
acceptance in the Beloved, who are not certain whether they would go to
Heaven or Hell should they die this moment, — how could such be joyful
and thankful? Impossible! Uncertainty and doubt beget fear and distrust,
and not gladness and adoration. There is a very striking word in

106:12 which throws light on

Exodus 15:1 — “Then believed they His
words; they sang His praise.”
“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the
Lord” (

“Then.” When? When
“the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians;
and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore” (

A close parallel is met with in the book of Judges. At the close of the 4th
chapter we read,
“So God subdued on that day Jabin the King of Canaan before the
children of Israel. And the hand of the children of Israel prospered,
and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had
destroyed Jabin king of Canaan” (vv. 23, 24).
What is the immediate sequel to this deliverance of Israel from Jabin? This:
“then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day,
saying, Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel” (

An even more blessed example is furnished in Isaiah. The 53rd chapter of
this prophecy (in its dispensational application) contains the confession of
the Jewish remnant at the close of the Tribulation period. Then will their
eyes be opened to see that the One whom their nation “despised and
rejected” was, in truth, the Sin-Bearer, the Savior. Once their faith lays
hold of this, once they have come under the virtue of Christ’s atoning
sacrifice, everything is altered. The very first word of Isaiah 54 is, “Sing O
barren thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing.”
“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel.” What a contrast is this from
what was before us in the earlier chapters! While in the house of bondage
no joyful strains were upon the lips of the Hebrews. Instead, we read that.198
they “sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried…. and God heard
their groaning.” But now their sighing gives place to singing; their groans
to praising. They are occupied no longer with themselves, but with the
Lord. And what had produced this startling change? Two things: the blood
of the Lamb, and the power of the Lord. It is highly significant, and in full
accord with what we have said above, that we never read in Scripture of
angels “singing.” In

Job 38:7 they are presented as “shouting,” and in

Luke 2:13 they are seen “praising” God, while in

Revelation 5:11,
12 we hear them “saying,” Worthy is the Lamb. Only the redeemed “sing!”
“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord.” And
what did they sing about? Their song was entirely about Jehovah. They not
only sang unto the Lord, but they sang about Him! It was all concerning
Himself, and nothing about themselves. The word “Lord” occurs no less
than twelve times within eighteen verses! The pronouns “He,” “Him,”
“Thy,” “Thou,” and “Thee” are found thirty-three times!! How significant
and how searching is this! How entirely different from modern hymnology!
So many hymns today (if “hymns” they deserve to be called) are full of
maudlin sentimentality, instead of Divine adoration. They announce our
love to God instead of His for us. They recount our experiences, instead of
His mercies. They tell more of human attainments, instead of Christ’s
Atonement. Sad index of our low state of spirituality! Different far was this
Song of Moses and Israel: “I will exalt Him” (v. 3), sums it all up.
“I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously: the
horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea” (v. 1).
How many there are who imagine that the first thing for which we should
praise God is our own blessing, what He has done for us! But while that is
indeed the natural order, it is not the supernatural. Where the Spirit of
God is fully in control He always draws out the heart unto God. It was so
here. So much was self forgotten, the Deliverer alone was seen. “Out of
the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” and where the heart is
really occupied with the Lord, the mouth will tell forth His praises. “The
Lord is my strength and song.” Beautiful and blessed was this first note
struck by God’s redeemed. O that our hearts were so set upon things
above that He might be the constant theme of our praise — “singing and
making melody in your hearts unto the Lord” (

Ephesians 5:19).
“I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and
his rider bath He thrown into the sea.” The theme of this song is what the.199
Lord had done: He had delivered His people and destroyed their enemies.
Israel began by magnifying the Lord because in overthrowing the strength
of Egypt He had glorified Himself. This is repeated in various forms:
“Thy right hand O Lord, is become glorious in power: Thy right
hand, O Lord, bath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the
greatness of Thine excellency Thou hast overthrown them that rose
up against Thee” (vv. 6, 7).
Joy is the spontaneous overflowing of a heart which is occupied with the
person and work of the Lord, it ought to be a continuous thing — “Rejoice
in the Lord alway” — in the Lord, not in your experiences nor
circumstances; “and again I say, Rejoice” (

Philippians 4:4).
“The Lord is my strength and song” (v. 2). The connecting of these two
things is significant. Divine strength and spiritual song are inseparable. Said
Nehemiah, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (

8:10). Just as
assurance leads to rejoicing, so rejoicing is essential for practical holiness.
Just in proportion as we are rejoicing in the Lord shall we have power for
our walk.
“And He is become my salvation” (v. 2). Not until now could Israel, really,
say this. Not until they had been brought right out of the Enemy’s land and
their foes had been rendered powerless by death, could Israel sing of
salvation. It is a very striking thing that never once is a believer found
saying this in the book of Genesis. Not that Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham,
were not saved; truly they were; but the Holy Spirit designedly reserved
this confession for the book which treats of “Redemption.” And even here
we do not find it until the Red Sea is reached. In

14:13 Moses said,
“Fear ye not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will
show to you today.” And now Jehovah had “shown” it to them, and they
can exclaim, “The Lord is become my salvation.”
“He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation” (v. 2).
Beautiful is this. A spirit of true devotion is here expressed. An
“habitation” is a dwelling-place. It was Jehovah’s presence in their midst
that their hearts desired. And is it not ever thus with the Lord’s redeemed
— to enjoy fellowship with the One who has saved us! True, it is our
happy privilege to enjoy communion with the Lord even now, but
nevertheless the soul pants for the time when everything that hinders and
spoils our fellowship will be forever removed —.200
“Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far
better” (

Philippians 1:23).
Blessed beyond words will be the full realization of our hope. Then shall it
be said,
“Behold the Tabernacle of God is with men, and lie will dwell with
them. and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with
them and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from
their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor
crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things
are passed away” (

Revelation 21:3, 4).
“The Lord is a man of war: The Lord is His name” (v. 3). This brings
before us an aspect of the Divine character which is very largely ignored
today. God is “light” (

1 John 1:5) as well as “love;” holy and righteous,
as well as longsuffering and merciful. And because He is holy, He hates sin;
because He is righteous, He must punish it. This is something for which the
believer should rejoice; if he does not, something is wrong with him. It is
only the sickly sentimentality of the flesh which shrinks from believing and
meditating upon these Divine perfections. Far different was it here with
Israel at the Red Sea. They praised God because He had dealt in judgment
with those who so stoutly defied Him. They looked at things from the
Divine viewpoint. They referred to Pharaoh and his hosts as God’s
enemies, not as theirs. “In the greatness of Thine excellency Thou hast
overthrown them that rose up against Thee” (v. 7). The same thing is seen
in Revelation 18 and 19. Immediately after the destruction of Babylon by
the fearful plagues of God, we read,
“And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in
heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and
power, unto the Lord our God; for true and righteous are His
judgments; for He hath judged the great whore which did corrupt
the earth with her fornication, and bath avenged the blood of His
servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia”

Revelation 19:1-3).
Far different were the sentiments of Israel here than those which govern
most our moderns. When they magnified Jehovah as a Man of War their
meaning is clearly expressed in the next words of their song: “Pharaoh’s
chariots and his hosts hath He cast into the sea; his chosen captains also are.201
drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; they sank into the
bottom as a stone.” They did not regard this Divine judgment as a
reflection upon God’s character; instead, they saw in it a display of His
perfections. “He hath triumphed gloriously.”
Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power… in the greatness of
Thine excellency Thou hadst overthrown them (vv. 6. 7) was their
confession. The “modernists” have not hesitated to criticize Israel severely,
yea, to condemn them in unmeasured terms, for their “vindictive glee.”
Such a conception of the Lord as Israel here expressed was worthy, we are
told, of none but the most ferocious of the Barbarians. But that Israel were
not here flits-representing God, that they were not giving utterance to their
own carnal feelings, is abundantly clear from

Revelation 15:3, where we
read of saints in Heaven singing “The Song of Moses the servant of God,
and the Song of the Lamb.” Certainly there will be no manifestations of the
flesh in Heaven!
Strikingly does the Song of Exodus 15 set forth the perfect ease with
which the Almighty overthrew His enemies:
“The Enemy said, I will pursue you, I will overtake, I will divide
the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my
sword, my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow with Thy
wind, the sea covered them; they sank as lead in the mighty waters”
(vv. 9, 10).
The Lord had promised to bring His redeemed into Canaan, the haughty
Egyptians thought to resist the purpose of the Most High. With loud
boastings of what they would do, they followed Israel into the parted
waves of the Red Sea. With one breath of His mouth the Lord overthrew
the marshaled forces of the enemy, in their mightiest array, as nothing more
than a cob-web which stood in the pathway of the onward march of His
eternal counsels.
Well might Israel cry,
“Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like
Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”
(v. 11).
And well may we ask to-day, “Who is like Thee, O God of the Holy
Scriptures, among the ‘gods’ of Christendom?” How entirely different is.202
the Lord — omnipotent, immutable, sovereign, triumphant — from the
feeble, changeable, disappointed and defeated “god” which is the object of
“worship” in thousands of the churches! How few today glory in God’s
“holiness!” How few praise Him for His “fearfulness!” How few are
acquainted with His “wonders!”
“Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast
redeemed. Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy holy
habitation” (v. 13).
This was a new standing — brought nigh to God, into His very presence.
This is what redemption effects. This is the position of all believers in the
Lord Jesus Christ.
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sills, the just for the unjust,
that He might bring us to God” (

1 Peter 3:18).
God’s redeemed are a people whom He has purchased for Himself, to be
with Himself forever — “that where I am, there ye may be also.” “Thou
hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy holy habitation.”
“This is our place as His redeemed. That is, we are brought to God
according to all that He is. His whole moral nature having been
completely satisfied in the death of Christ, He can now rest in us in
perfect complacency. The hymn therefore does but express a
Scriptural thought which says — ‘So near, so very near to God, I
nearer cannot be, For in the person of His Son, I am as near as He.’
The place indeed is accorded to us in grace, but none the less in
righteousness; so that not only are all the attributes of God’s
character concerned in bringing us there, but He Himself is also
glorified by it. It is an immense thought, and one which, when held
in power, imparts both strength and energy to out souls — that we
are even now brought to God. The whole distance — measured by
the death of Christ on the cross, when He was made sin for us —
has been bridged over, and our position of nearness is marked by
the place He now occupies as glorified by the right hand of God. In
Heaven itself we shall not be nearer, as to our position, because it is
in Christ. It will not be forgotten that our enjoyment of this truth,
indeed our apprehension of it. will depend upon our present
condition. God looks for a state corresponding with our standing,
i.e., our responsibility is measured by our privilege. But until we.203
know our place there cannot be an answering condition. We must
first learn that we are brought to God if we would in any measure
walk in accordance with the position. State and walk must ever
flow from a known relationship. Unless therefore we are taught the
truth of our standing before God, we shall never answer to it in our
souls, or in our walk and conversation” (Ed. Dennett).
“The people shall hear, and be afraid; sorrow shall take hold on the
inhabitants of Palestina. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed;
the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all
the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. Fear and dread shall fall
upon them; by the greatness of Thine arm they shall be as still as a
stone; till Thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over,
which Thou hast purchased. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant
them in the mountain of Thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord,
which Thou hast made for Thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O
Lord, which Thy hands have established” (vv. 14-17).
What firm confidence do these words breathe! What God had wrought at
the Red Sea was the guaranty to Israel that He who had begun a work for
them, would finish it. They were not counting on their own strength —
“By the greatness of Thine arm they (their enemies) shall be as still as a
stone.” Their trust was solely in the Lord — “Thou shalt bring them in,”
blessed illustration of the first outflowings of simple but confident faith!
Alas, that this early simplicity is usually so quickly lost. Alas, that so often
it is displaced by the workings of an evil heart of unbelief. Oh, that we
might ever reason as did Israel here, and as the apostle Paul —
“Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver; in
whom we trust that He will yet deliver” (

2 Corinthians 1:10).
“Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of Thine arm
they shall be as still as a stone” (v. 16).
Opposition there would be, enemies to be encountered. But utterly futile
would be their puny efforts. Impossible for them to resist success fully the
execution of God’s eternal counsels. Equally impossible is it for our
enemies, be they human or demoniac, to keep us out of the promised
inheritance. “Who shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus?”
Who, indeed!.204
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to
separate us” (

Romans 8:38, 39).
Thus the end is sure from the beginning, and we may, like Israel, sing the
Song of Victory before the first step is taken. in the wilderness pathway!
Israel’s confidence was not misplaced. A number of examples are furnished
in later Scriptures of how tidings of Jehovah’s judgments on Israel’s behalf
became known far and wide, and were used by him to humble and alarm.
Jethro, the Midianite, comes to Moses and says,
“Blessed be the Lord, who bath delivered you out of the hand of
the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh… now I know that the
Lord is greater than all gods” (

Exodus 18:10, 11).
Rahab of Jerico declared to the two spies,
“I know that the Lord hath given you the land and that your terror
is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint
because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the
water of the Red Sea for you,” etc. (

Joshua 2:9, 10).
Said the Gibeonites to Joshua,
“From a very far country thy servants are come because of the
name of the Lord thy God; for we have heard the fame of Him and
all that He did in Egypt” (

Joshua 9:9).
Hundreds of years later the Philistines said,
“Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these
are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the
wilderness” (

1 Samuel 4:8)!
“The Lord shall reign forever and ever” (v. 18). And here the Song ends —
the next verse is simply the inspired record of the historian, giving us the
cause and the occasion of the Song. The Song ends as it began — with
“The Lord.” Faith views the eternal future without a tremor. Fully assured
that God is sovereign, sovereign because omnipotent, immutable, and
eternal, the conclusion is irresistible and certain that, “The Lord shall reign
forever and ever.”.205
“And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbral in
her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrals and
with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for
He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He
thrown into the sea” (vv. 20, 21).
“The women’s voices, with their musical accompaniments, take up
the refrain. It is the seal of completeness. Sin had come in through
the women; now her heart is lifted up in praise, which testifies in
itself of victory over it. The mute inanimate things also become
responsive in the timbrals in her hand. The joy is full and universal
in the redeemed creation” (Numerical Bible).
Blessed witness to the final fruits of Redemption.
Some persons have experienced a difficulty here in that Miriam also led in
this Song of Victory. It seems to clash with the teaching of the New
Testament, which enjoins the subordination of women to the men in the
assembly. But the difficulty is self-created. There is nothing here which in
anywise conflicts with

1 Corinthians 14:34. Observe two things: it was
only the “women” (v. 20) whom Miriam led in song! Second, this was not
in the presence of the men — “all the women went out after her!” Thus
Divine order was preserved. May the Lord grant a like spirit of
subordination to His daughters today..206

“So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into
the wilderness of Shur” (

When God separates a people unto Himself, it is not only needful that that
people should be redeemed with “precious blood,” and then brought near
as purged worshippers, but it is also part of God’s wise purpose that they
should pass through the wilderness ere they enter into the promised
inheritance. Two chief designs are accomplished thereby.
First, the trials and testings of the wilderness make manifest the evil of our
hearts, and the incurable corruption of the flesh, and this in order that we
may be humbled — “to hide pride” from us; and that we may prove by
experience that entrance into the inheritance itself is also and solely a
matter of sovereign grace, seeing that there is no worthiness, yea, no “good
thing” in us.
Second, inasmuch as when Jehovah leads His people into the wilderness
He goes with them and makes His presence and His love manifest among
them. Inasmuch as it is His purpose to display His power in saving His
redeemed from the consequences of their failures, and thus make their need
the opportunity of lavishing upon them the riches of His grace, we are
made to see not only Israel, but God with them and for them in the waste
howling desert.
Trial and humiliation are not “the end of the Lord” (

James 5:11), but
are rather the occasions for fresh displays of the Father’s long-sufferance
and goodness. The wilderness may and will make manifest the weakness of
His saints, and, alas! their failures, but this is only to magnify the power
and mercy of Him who brought them into the place of testing. Further:
God has in view our ultimate wellbeing — that He may “do thee good at
thy latter end” (

Deuteronomy 6:18); and when the trials are over, when
our faithful God has supplied our “every need,” all, all shall be found to be.207
to His honor, praise, and glory. Thus God’s purpose in leading “His people
through the wilderness was (and is) not only that He might try and prove
them (

Deuteronomy 8:2-5), but that in the trial He might exhibit what
He was for them in bearing with their failures and in supplying their need.
The “wilderness,” then, gives us not only a revelation of ourselves, but it
also makes manifest the ways of God.
“So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the
wilderness of Shur.” This is the first time that we read of them being in
“the wilderness.” In

13:18 we are told that “God led the people about
the way of the wilderness,” but that they had not then actually entered it is
clear from v. 20 — “And they took their journey from Succoth, and
encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.” But now they “went
out into the wilderness.” The connection is very striking and instructive. It
was their passage through the Red Sea which introduced God’s redeemed
to the wilderness. Israel’s journey through the Red Sea speaks of the
believer’s union with Christ in His death and resurrection (

Romans 6:3,
4): Typically, Israel were now upon resurrection-ground. That we may not
miss the force of this, the Holy Spirit has been careful to tell us that
“Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the
wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness.” Here, as in
many other passages, the “three days” speaks of resurrection (

Corinthians 15:4).
It is only when the Christian’s faith lays hold of his oneness with Christ in
His death and resurrection, recognizing that he is a “new creature” in Him,
that he becomes conscious of “the wilderness.” Just in proportion as we
apprehend our new standing before God and our portion in His Son, so
will this world become to us a dreary and desolate wilderness. To the
natural man the world offers much that is attractive and alluring; but to the
spiritual man all in it is only “vanity and vexation of spirit.” To the eye of
sense there is much in the world that is pleasant and pleasing; but the eye
of faith sees nothing but death written across the whole scene — “change
and decay in all around I see.” It has much which ministers to “the lust of
the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,” but nothing whatever
for the new nature. So far as the spiritual life is concerned, the world is
simply a wilderness — barren and desolate.
The wilderness is the place of travelers, journeying from one country to
another; none but a madman would think of making his home there..208
Precisely such is this world. It is the place through which man journeys
from time to eternity. And faith it is which makes the difference between
the way in which men regard this world. The unbeliever, for the most part,
is content to remain here. He settles down as though he is to stay here
“Their inward thought is, their houses shall continue forever, and
their dwelling-places to all generations; they call their land after
their names” (

Psalm 49:11).
Every effort is made to prolong his earthly sojourn, and when at last death
claims him, he is loath to leave. Far different is it with the believer, the real
believer. His home is not here. He looks
“for a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is
God” (

Hebrews 11:10).
Consequently, he is a stranger and pilgrim here (

Hebrews 11:13). It is
of this the “wilderness” speaks. Canaan was the country which God gave
to Abraham and his seed, and the wilderness was simply a strange land
through which they passed on their way to their inheritance.
“And they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water”
(v. 22).
This is the first lesson which our wilderness-life is designed to teach us.
There is nothing down here which can in anywise minister to that life which
we have received from Christ. The pleasures of sin, the attractions of the
world, no longer satisfy. The things which formerly charmed, now repel us.
The companionships we used to find so pleasing have become distasteful.
The things which delight the ungodly only cause us to groan. The Christian
who is in communion with his Lord finds absolutely nothing around him
which will or can refresh his thirsty soul. For him the shallow cisterns of
this world have run dry. His cry will be that of the Psalmist:
“O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee; my soul thirsteth
for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee, in a dry and thirsty land,
where no water is” (

Psalm 63:1).
Ah, here is the believer’s Resource: God alone can satisfy the longings of
his heart. Just as he first heeded the gracious words of the Savior,.209
“If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink”

John 7:37),
so must he continue to go to Him who alone has the Water of Life.
“And when they came to Marah they could not drink of the waters
of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore the name of it was called
Marah” (v. 23).
A sore trial, a real test, was this. Three days’ journey in the hot and sandy
wilderness without finding any water; and now that water is reached,
behold, it is “bitter!”
“How often this is the case with the young believer, aye, and with
the old one, too. We grasp at that which we think will satisfy, and
only find bitter disappointment. Has it not proved so? Have you
tried the pleasures, or the riches, or the honors of the world, and
only found them bitter? You are invited to a gay party. Once this
would have been very delightful; but now, how bitter to the taste of
the new nature! How utterly disappointed you return home. Have
you set your heart on some earthly object? You are permitted to
obtain it; but how empty! Yea, what you expected to yield such
satisfaction only brings sorrow and emptiness” (C. Stanley).
Israel were now made to feel the bareness and bitterness of the wilderness.
With what light hearts did they begin their journey across it? Little
prepared were they for what lay before them. To go three days and find no
water, and when they reached some to find it bitter! How differently had
they expected from God! How natural for them, after experiencing the
great work of deliverance which He had wrought for them, to count on
Him providing a smooth and easy path for them. So, too, is it with young
Christians. They have peace with God and rejoice in the knowledge of sins
forgiven. Little do they (or did we) anticipate the tribulations which lay
before them. Did not we expect things would be agreeable here? Have we
not sought to make ourselves happy in this world? And have we not been
disappointed and discouraged, when we found “no water.” and that what
there is was “bitter?” Ah, we enter the wilderness without understanding
what it is! We thought, if we thought at all, that our gracious God would
screen us from sorrow. Ah, dear reader, it is at God’s right hand, and not
in this world, that there are “pleasures for evermore.”.210
As we have said, the “wilderness” accurately symbolizes and portrays this
world, and the first stage of the journey forecasts the whole! Drought and
bitterness are all that we can expect in the place that owns not Christ. How
could it be otherwise? Does God mean for us to settle down and be
content in a world which hates Him and which cast out His beloved Son?
Never! Here, then, is something of vital importance for the young
Christian. I ought to start my wilderness journey expecting nothing but
dearth. If we expect peace instead of persecution, that which will make us
merry rather than cause us to groan, disappointment and disheartenment at
not having our expectations realized, will be our portion. Many an
experienced Christian would bear witness that most of his failings in the
wilderness are to be attributed to his starting out with a wrong view of
what the wilderness is. Ease and rest are not to be found in it, and the more
we look for these, the keener will be our disappointment. The first stage in
our journey must proclaim to us, as to Israel, what the true nature of the
journey is. It is Marah.
“And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we
drink?” (v. 24).
Very solemn is this. Three days ago this people had been singing, now they
are murmuring. Praising before the Red Sea gives place to complaining at
Marah! A real trial was this experience, but how sadly Israel failed under it.
Just as before, when they saw the Egyptians bearing down upon them at
Pihahiroth, so now once more they upbraid Moses for bringing them into
trouble. They appeared to have overlooked entirely the fact that they had
been led to Marah by the Pillar of Cloud (

13:22)! Their murmuring
against Moses was, in reality, murmuring against the Lord. And so it is
with us. Every complaint against our circumstances, every grumble about
the weather, about the way people treat us, about the daily trials of life, is
directed against that One Who “worketh all things after the counsel of His
Own will (

Ephesians 1:11). Remember, dear reader, that what is here
recorded of Israel’s history is “written for our admonition” (

Corinthians 10:11). There is the same evil heart of unbelief and the same
rebellious will within us as were in the Israelites. Therefore do we need to
earnestly seek grace that the one may be subdued and the other broken.
And what was the cause of their “murmuring?” There can be only one
answer: their eye was no longer upon God. After the wonders of Jehovah’s
power which they had witnessed in Egypt, and their glorious deliverance at.211
the Red Sea, it ought to have been unmistakably evident to them that He
was for and with them in very truth. But so far from recognizing this, they
do not seem to have given Him a single thought. They speak as if they had
to do with Moses only. And is it not frequently so with us? When we reach
Marah, do we not charge some fellow-creature with being responsible for
our hard lot? Some friend in whom we trusted, some counsellor whose
advice we respected, some arm of flesh on which we leaned has failed us,
and we blame them because of the “bitter waters!”
“And he cried unto the Lord” (v. 25). Moses did what Israel ought to have
done — he took the matter to God in prayer. This is what our “Marah’s”
are for — to drive us to the Lord. I say “drive,” for the tragic thing is that
most of the time we are so under the influence of the flesh that we become
absorbed with His blessings, rather than with the Blesser Himself. Not,
perhaps, that we are entirely prayer-less, but rather that there is so little
heart in our prayers. It is sad and solemn, yet nevertheless true, that it
takes a “Marah” to make us cry unto God in earnest.
“They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no
city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty their soul fainted in them.
THEN they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered
them out of their distresses…. Therefore He brought down their
heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. THEN
they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of
their distresses…. Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they
drew near unto the gates of death, THEN they cry unto the Lord in
their trouble, and He saveth them out of their distresses… They reel
to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’
end. THEN they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He bringeth
them out of their distresses” (

Psalm 107:4, 5, 12, 13, 18, 19,
27, 28).
Alas that this is so often true of writer and reader.
“And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree,
which, when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made
sweet” (v. 25).
Moses did not cry unto God in vain. The One who has provided
redemption for His people is the God of all grace, and with infinite long-sufferance
does He bear with them. The faith of Israel might fail, and.212
instead of trusting the Lord for the supply of their need, give way to
murmuring; nevertheless, He came to their relief. So with us. How true it is
“He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us
according to our iniquities” (

Psalm 103:10).
But on what ground does the thrice Holy One deal so tenderly with His
erring people? Ah, is it not beautiful to see that at this point, too, our type
is perfect — it was in response to the cries of an interceding mediator that
God acted. In His official character Moses is seen all through as the one
who came between God and Israel. It was in response to his cry that the
Lord came to Israel’s relief! And blessed be God there is also One who
“ever liveth to make intercession for us” (

Hebrews 7:25), and on this
ground God deals tenderly with us as we pass through the wilderness:
“If any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ
the Righteous” (

1 John 2:1).
The form which God’s response took on this occasion is also deeply
significant and instructive. He showed Moses “a tree.” The “tree” had
evidently been there all the time, but Moses saw it not, or at least knew not
its sweetening properties. It was not until the Lord “showed him” the tree
that he learned of the provision of God’s grace. This shows how dependent
we are upon the Lord, and how blind we are in ourselves. Of Hagar we
“And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water”

Genesis 21:19).
So in

2 Kings 6:17 we are told, “And the Lord opened the eyes of the
young man, and he saw; and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and
chariots of fire round about Elisha.” Clearly
“the hearing ear, and seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of
them” (

Proverbs 20:12).
And what was it that the Lord “showed” Moses? It was “a tree.” And what
did this “tree” which sweetened the bitter waters, typify? Surely it is the
person and work of our Blessed Savior — the two are inseparably
connected. There are several Scriptures which present Him under the
figure of a “tree.” In the 1st Psalm it is said, “He shall be like a tree planted.213
by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth His fruit in His season, His leaf
also shall not wither; and whatsoever He doeth shall prosper” (v. 3).
Again, in

Song of Solomon 2:3 we read,
“As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved
among the sons. I sat down under His shadow with great delight,
and His fruit was sweet to my taste.”
Here is the second great lesson of our wilderness-life — nothing can
sweeten the bitter cup of our earthly experiences except reposing under the
shadow of Christ Sit down at His feet, dear reader, and you shall find His
fruit “sweet” unto your taste, and His words sweeter than the honey or the
But the “tree” also speaks of the cross of Christ:
“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the Tree”

1 Peter 2:24),
“The cross of Christ is that which makes what is naturally bitter
sweet to us. It is the fellowship of His sufferings

Philippians 3:10),
and the knowledge of its being that, what suffering can it not sweeten!….
Let us remember here that these sufferings of which we speak are therefore
sufferings which are peculiar to us as Christians. This ‘bitterness’ of death
in the wilderness is not simply the experience of what falls to the common
lot of man to experience. It is not the bitterness simply of being in the body
— of enduring the ills which, they say, flesh is heir to. It is the bitterness
which results from being linked with Christ in His own path of suffering
here. ‘If we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him.’ Marsh then is
sweetened by this ‘tree’; the cross, the cross of shame; the cross which was
the mark of the world’s verdict as to Him — the cross it is that sweetens
the struggles. If we endure shame and rejection for Him, as His, we can
endure it, and the sweet reality of being linked with Him makes Marsh
itself drinkable” (Mr. Grant). A beautiful illustration is furnished in Acts
16. There we see Paul and Silas in the prison of Philippi; they were cruelly
scourged, and then thrown into the innermost dungeon. Behold them in the
darkness, feet fast in the stocks, and backs bleeding. That was “Marah”
for them indeed. But how were they employed? They “sang praises,” and
sang so lustily that the other prisoners heard them (

Acts 16:25). There
we see the “tree” sweetening the bitter waters. How was it possible for.214
them to sing under such circumstances? Because they rejoiced that they
were “counted worthy to suffer shame for “His name” (

Acts 5:41)!
This, then, is how we are to use the Cross in our daily lives — to regard
our Christian trials and afflictions as opportunities for having fellowship
with the sufferings of the Savior.
“There He made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he
proved them and said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of
the Lord thy God and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and
wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will
put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon
the Egyptians” (vv. 25, 26).
It is very important to mark the context here. Nothing had been said to
Israel about Jehovah’s “statutes and commandments” while they were in
Egypt. But now that they were redeemed, now that they had been
purchased for Himself, God’s governmental claims are pressed upon them.
The Lord was dealing with them in wondrous grace. But grace is not
lawlessness. Grace only makes us the more indebted to God. Our
obligations are increased not cancelled thereby. Grace reigns “through
righteousness,” not at the expense of it (

Romans 5:21). The obligation
of obedience can never be liquidated so long as God is God. Grace only
establishes on a higher basis what we most emphatically and fully OWE to
Him as His redeemed creatures.
This principle runs throughout the Scriptures and applies to every
dispensation: blessing is dependent upon obedience. Israel were to be
immune from the diseases of Egypt only so long as they hearkened
diligently to the voice of the Lord their God and did that which was right in
His sight! But let us be clear on the point. The keeping of God’s
commandments has nothing to do with our salvation. Israel here were
already under the blood and had been, typically, brought through death on
to resurrection-ground. Yet now the Lord reminds them of His
commandments and statutes. How far wrong, then, are they who contend
that the law has nothing to do with Christians? True, it has nothing to do
with their salvation. But it is needful for the regulation of their walk.
Believers, equally with unbelievers, are subject to God’s government.
Failure to recognize this, failure to conform our daily lives to God’s
statutes, failure to obey His commandments, will not forfeit our salvation,.215
but it will bring down upon us the chastening “plagues” of our righteous
Father (

John 17:25).
A separate word is called for upon the closing sentence of verse 26: “For I
am the Lord that healeth thee.” This has been seized upon by certain well-meaning
people whose zeal is “not according to knowledge.” They have
detached this sentence of Scripture and “claimed” the Lord as their Healer.
By this they mean that in response to their appropriating faith God
recovers them from sickness without the use of herbs or drugs. From it
they deduce the principle that it is wrong for a believer to have recourse to
any doctor or medical aid. The Lord is their Physician, and it is distrust of
Him to consult an earthly physician. But if this scripture be examined in its
context, it will be found that instead of teaching that God disdains the use
of means in the healing of His people, He employs them. The bitter waters
of Marah were healed not by a peremptory fiat from Jehovah, but by a
“tree” being cast into them! Thus, in the first reference to “healing” in the
Bible we find God deliberately choosing to employ means for the healing
and health of His people. Similarly, did He bless Elisha in the use of means
(salt) in healing the waters at Jericho (

2 Kings 2:19-22). Similarly did
God instruct His servant Isaiah to use means (a fig-poultice) in the healing
of Hezekiah. So also in

Psalm 104:14 we read,
“He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and here for the
service of man; that he may bring forth good out of the earth.”
So we find the apostle Paul exhorting Timothy to take a little wine for his
stomach’s sake (

1 Timothy 5:23). Even on the new earth God will use
means for healing the bodies of the nations which have lived through the
millenium without dying and being raised in glorified bodies:
“The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations”

Revelation 22:2).
“And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and
three-score and ten palm trees, and they encamped there by the
waters” (v. 27).
This does not conflict with our remarks upon the previous verses. Elim is
the complement to Marah, and this will be the more evident if we observe
their order. First, the bitter waters of Marah sweetened by the tree, and
then the wells of pure water and the palm trees for shade and refreshment.
Surely the interpretation is obvious: when we are walking in fellowship.216
with Christ and the principle of His cross is faithfully applied to our daily
life, not only is the bitterness of suffering for His sake sweetened, but we
enter into the pure joys which God has provided for His own, even down
here. “Elim” speaks, then, of the satisfaction which God gives to those who
are walking with Him in obedience. This joy of heart, this satisfaction of
soul, comes to us through the ministry of the Word — hence the
significance of the twelve “wells” and the seventy “palm trees”; the very
numbers selected by Christ in the sending forth of His apostles. (See

Luke 9:1-10:1!) May the Lord grant that we shall so heed the lesson of
Marah that Elim will be our happy lot..217

Not for long were Israel permitted to enjoy the grateful refreshment and
shade of the wells and palm trees of Elim (15:27). The first verses of our
chapter tell us, “And they took their journey from Elim, and all the
congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin.” If
we compare Numbers 33, which records the various stages or stopping-places
in Israel’s journeys, we find that “they removed from Elim, and
encamped by the Red Sea” (v.

10). Most probably this was some bay or
creek of the Sea, where for a short time their camp was now pitched,
perhaps with the design of them looking once more at those waters
through which they had passed dry-shod, but which had overwhelmed their
enemies. Evidently their stay there was a short one, and as nothing of
importance happened, it is omitted in Exodus 16.
The leading of Israel into the Wilderness of Sin brings out the strength of
Moses’ faith. Here, for the first time, the full privation of desert life stared
the people fully in the face. Every step they took was now leading them
farther away from the inhabited countries and conducting them deeper into
the land of desolation and death. The isolation of the wilderness was
complete, and the courage and faith of their leader in bringing a multitude
of at least two million people into such a howling waste, demonstrates his
firm confidence in the Lord God. Moses was not ignorant of the character
of the desert. He had lived for forty years in its immediate vicinity (

and, therefore, he knew full well that only a miracle, yea, a series of daily
miracles, could meet the vast needs of such a multitude. In this his faith
was superior to Abraham’s (

Genesis 12:10).
“And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of
the children of Israel came unto the Wilderness of Sin, which is
between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month
after their departing out of the land of Egypt” (v. 1)..218
Why, we may ask, such particularity in noting the time-mark here? As a
matter of mere history it seems of little interest or importance. What
difference does it make to us today which month and what day of the
month it was when Israel entered the Wilderness of Sin? It was on “the
fifteenth day of the second month” after their leaving Egypt that Israel
came unto this wilderness. The very fact that the Holy Spirit has recorded
this detail is sufficient proof it is not meaningless. There is nothing trivial in
the Word of God. Even the numerals are there used with Divine purpose
and significance. And herein we may discover the answer to our question.
It was the “second month,” and in Scripture “two” speaks of witness or
testimony (cf.

Revelation 11:3, etc.). It was the “fifteenth day” of the
month, and the factors of 15 are five and three. In Scripture “five” signifies
grace or favor (

Genesis 43:34, etc.), and “three” is the number of
manifestations — hence the number of resurrection, when life is fully
manifested. By combining these definitions we learn that God was now to
give unto Israel a witness and manifestation of His grace. How fully the
sequel bears this out is most apparent.
In order for grace to shine forth there must first be the dark background of
sin. Grace is unmerited favor, and to enhance its glory the demerits of man
must be exhibited. It is where sin abounded that grace did much more
abound (

Romans 5:21). It was so here. The very next thing that we
read of is,
“And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured
against Moses and Aaron in the Wilderness: And the children of
Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of
the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, and
when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into
this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (vv. 2, 3).
A darker background could scarcely be imagined.
Here was the self-same people who had been divinely spared from the ten
plagues on Egypt, who had been brought forth from the land of bondage,
miracuously delivered at the Red Sea, Divinely guided by a Pillar of Cloud
and Fire, day and night, — now “murmuring,” complaining, rebelling! And
it was not a few of the people who did so; the “whole congregation” were
guilty. It was not simply that they muttered among themselves, but they
murmured against their Divinely-chosen leader. Their sin, too, was
aggravated by an oath; they took the Divine name “in vain” — “would to.219
God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt.” It is also
evident that in their hot-headed insubordination they lied, for as slaves of
the merciless Egyptians there is no ground whatever for us to suppose that
they “sat by the flesh-pots” or “ate bread to the full.” Finally, their wicked
unbelief comes out in the words, “for ye have brought us forth into this
wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” It was Jehovah. not
simply Moses and Aaron, who had brought them forth; and He had
promised they should worship Him at Sinai (

Exodus 3:12). It was not
possible, then, for them to die with hunger in the wilderness.
What, then, was the Lord’s response to this awful outbreak of rebellious
unbelief? Verse 4 tells us: “Behold, I will rain” — what: “fire and
brimstone that ye may be consumed”? No; “Behold, I will rain bread from
heaven for you.” Marvelous grace was this; sovereign, unmerited favor!
The very first word here is designed to arrest our attention. In Scripture,
“behold” is the Holy Spirit’s exclamation mark. “Behold” — mark with
worshipful wonder. Here, then, is the blessed force of the time-mark in
verse 1. The raining (which speaks of a plentiful supply) of bread from
Heaven for these murmuring Israelites was indeed a witness to the grace of
God fully manifested!
That which follows here in Exodus 16 is deeply important. Every detail in
it speaks loudly to us, if only we have ears to hear. The manna which
Jehovah provided for Israel is a beautiful type of the food which God has
provided for our souls. This food is His own Word. This food is both His
written Word and His incarnate Word. We propose to consider these
separately. In the remainder of this article we shall trace some of the many
points of analogy between the manna and the Scriptures as the heavenly
food for God’s people. In our next paper we shall view the manna as a type
of the Lord Jesus, the Heavenly One come down to earth.
“Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from
heaven for you” (v. 4).
This is the first great lesson which the manna is designed to teach us. The
manna was not a product of the earth; it was not manufactured by man; it
was not something which Israel brought with them out of Egypt — there
was no manna there. Instead, it came down from heaven. It was a gift from
Various attempts have been made to explain away the supernatural in
connection with the manna. Some have declared that it grew on a certain
tree found in the wilderness; but they fail to explain how it grew in winter
as well as summer; how that it was obtainable in every part of the
wilderness, no matter where Israel’s camp was pitched; or, how that
sufficient was to hand to feed upwards of two million souls for almost forty
years! How foolish is man’s infidelity. The only possible explanation of the
manna is to see in its continued supply a miracle. It was furnished by God
Himself. So it is with that which the manna prefigured — the written
Word. The Scriptures are the spiritual manna for our souls, and at every
point they manifest their supernatural origin. Many efforts have been made
to account for the Bible, but on this point man’s reasonings are as
ridiculous as when he attempts to explain the manna on natural lines. The
Bible is a miraculous production. It was given by Divine Inspiration. It has
come from heaven. It is the gift of God.
It is striking to note how the supernatural is evidenced in connection with
the giving of the manna. In

Exodus 16:16 we read,
“This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded; gather of it
every man according to his eating, an omer for every man.
according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for
them which are in his tents.”
Now, a conservative estimate of the total number of Israelites who came
out of Egypt would be two million. for they had six hundred thousand men
able to go forth to war” (See

Numbers 1:45, 46). An “omer” was to be
gathered for every one of these two million souls, and an “omer” is the
equivalent of six pints. There would be twelve million pints, or nine million
pounds gathered daily, which was four thousand five hundred tons. Hence,
ten trains, each having thirty cars, and each car having in it fifteen tons,
would be needed for a single day’s supply. Over a million tons of manna
were gathered annually by Israel. And let it be remembered this continued
for forty years! Equally wonderful, equally miraculous, equally Divine is
the Bible..221
“And in the morning the dew lay round about the host; and when
the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the
wilderness there lay a small round thing” (vv. 13, 14).
No long journey had to be taken in order to secure the manna. The
Israelites did not have to cross the wilderness before they could secure
their needed food. It was right to hand; before their eyes. There, just
outside their tent door, lay the manna on the ground. So it is with the
Word of God. It is blessedly accessible to all of us. I often think that if it
were harder to procure a Bible than it is some of us would prize it more
than we do. If we had to cross the ocean and journey to the other side of
the world to obtain a copy of the Holy Scriptures we would value them far
more than we do now!
But the very accessibility of the manna only added to the responsibility of
Israel. Its very nearness measured their obligation. By virtue of the fact that
it lay on the ground just outside their tents they had to do something with
it. They must either gather it or trample it beneath their feet! And my
reader, this is equally true of God’s Word. The very fact that it is right here
to your hand determines your responsibility. You are obliged to do one of
two things with it: show your appreciation by gathering it unto your soul,
or despise and trample it beneath your feet by a criminal neglect.
“And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of
the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar
frost on the ground” (v. 14).
Who would have imagined that a complete and perfect revelation from
God and of God could be comprised within the compass of a
comparatively small volume? Think of it — the sum total of God’s
revealed Truth in a book which can be carried in your pocket! All that is
needed to make us wise unto salvation; all that is needed to sustain our
souls throughout our earthly pilgrimage; all that is needed to make the man
of God “perfect” (complete), within the compass of the Bible!
Observe that not only is the size but also the shape of the manna is given. It
was “a small round thing.” It had no angles and no rough edges..222
Continuing to regard the manna as a symbol and a type of the Word of
God, what does this teach us? Why, surely, it prefigured the beautiful
symmetry of Scripture. It tells us that the Bible is a perfect whole,
complete and entire.
“And the house of Israel called the name thereof manna: and it was
like coriander seed, white” (v. 31).
Everything here has a spiritual significance. The Holy Spirit had a good
reason for telling us the particular color of the manna. There is nothing
meaningless in Scripture anywhere. Everything in God’s Word has a value
and message for us.
Now “white” is the emblem of purity. Thus we have emphasized the
absolute purity of the Word of God. Let us link together three Scriptures.
“The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace
of earth, purified seven times” (

Psalm 12:6):
they are pure morally and they are pure spiritually. They are like the “pure
river of the water of life” which proceedeth out of the throne of God and
of the Lamb — they are “clear as crystal” (

Revelation 22:1). Again, we
read in

Psalm 119:140, “Thy Word is very pure: therefore Thy servant
loveth it.” The Scriptures are termed the “Holy Scriptures” because they
are separated off from all other writings by virtue of their exalted
spirituality and Divine purity. Once more, in

Proverbs 30:5 we read,
“Every word of God is pure.” There is no admixture of error in God’s
Word. In it there are no mistakes, no contradictions, no blemishes.
This brings us to the central and most important point in connection with
our type. The manna was not given simply to look at, or admire; but to be
eaten. It was for food. It was God’s provision to meet the bodily need of
His people Israel. It is thus with the spiritual manna. God’s Word is to be
turned to practical account. It is given to provide food for our souls. But in
order to derive from it the nutriment we require we need to learn how to
feed on the Bread of Life. Just as a neglect of suitable diet or proper
feeding in the natural sphere results in a low condition of bodily health, so
to neglect our spiritual food or to ignore the laws of spiritual dietetics.223
results in a sickly state of soul. In all correct eating there are three things:
appropriation, mastication, assimilation. Let us consider each one
Appropriation. This is a point so obvious that many may think it is
unnecessary to develop it. And yet it is just here that so many of God’s
children fail. When I sit down to a well-spread table it is apparent that I
cannot begin to eat everything before me. Nor is that required. The first
thing necessary is to appropriate to myself a portion of the food before me.
No matter how excellent the quality of the food may be, or how tastily
prepared, it will avail me nothing to sit and admire it. I need to have a
certain portion of it placed upon my own plate, and then to eat it.
It is so with the spiritual manna. The Word of God is exhaustless in its
contents. In it is stored sufficient for the people of God in all ages. There is
far more in it than ever I can possibly assimilate. What I must do is make
an appropriation to my own soul’s needs. And this must be done just as
definitely as the eating of my material food. We are anxious to be of real
help here to all our readers, so let us be very simple.
Our first need is to appropriate. To appropriate means to take unto
ourselves, to make our own. This was the initial lesson in connection with
our salvation. The difference between an unbeliever and a believer is in the
employment of the personal pronoun. An unbeliever may speak of the
Savior, but only the believer can truthfully say “my Savior.” Faith
appropriates unto ourselves. Faith personalizes. When I read in

53 concerning Christ that “He was wounded for our transgression,” faith
individualizes it and says, “He was wounded for my transgressions.” This is
what we mean by appropriation. We appropriated Christ when we took
Him as our own personal Savior.
Now, just as we appropriated the Savior, so we need to appropriate the
promises and the precepts of God’s Word. For example, when I read in

Matthew 7:7,
“Ask, and it shall be given you; speak, and ye shall find; knock, and
it shall be opened unto you,”
faith makes it personal, and applying to myself what I read there. I say —
“Ask, and it shall be given me; seek, and I shall find; knock, and it shall be
opened unto me.” And again, I read in

Romans 8:32,.224
“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,
how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things,”
and faith takes this to myself. I apply it to my own case, and read, “How
shall He not with Him also freely give me all things?”
A Scottish pastor once called on an aged saint of God. At once she handed
the minister the Bible and asked him to read some portion to her — would
that we had more like her today; many a pastor’s heart would be rejoiced
if, when he called on his members, they desired him to read and pray with
them instead of wanting him to discuss the gossip and scandal of the town.
As the minister turned the pages he noticed that in the margins had been
written the letters T. and T.P. He asked the old lady what these letters
signified. She answered, Observe that they are always placed opposite
some promise of God. T. means “tried,” and T.P., “tried and proven.” She
had learned to feed on God’s Word. She had appropriated the promises
unto herself. Have you learned this lesson yet, dear reader? God’s
promises will afford you no comfort, and minister no strength to you until
you make them your own. For example, I read in

Philippians 4:19,
“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory
by Christ Jesus,”
and when I really appropriate this to myself I shall say, “My God shall
supply all Arthur Pink’s need.”
It must be the same with the precepts of Scripture. The commands, the
exhortations, the admonitions of the Bible, are not so many abstractions.
No; they are a revelation of Gods will for me. I must read the Scriptures as
addressed to me personally. When I come to some word of God which
condemns my ways, I must not pass it over, but be honest and take it unto
myself. May God give all of us grace to daily appropriate both His
promises and precepts.
Mastication. After a certain portion of the food spread before me had been
placed on my own plate and in my mouth, the next thing is to chew it, to
chew it slowly and thoroughly. But in this matter most of us are serious
offenders. We bolt our food. We swallow it before it has been properly
masticated. We eat too hurriedly. That is the chief reason why so many
suffer from dyspepsia — they give their stomachs the work to do which the
teeth were intended to perform. A little food thoroughly masticated will.225
supply far more nutrition to the system than a lot of food swallowed almost
whole, and our general health would be much better, too.
This is equally true spiritually. Thousands of God’s children are grievous
offenders here. They have never learned to use their spiritual teeth. The
Bread of Life must be chewed if we are to derive from it the sustenance we
so much need. What do I mean? This: meditation stands to reading as
mastication does to eating. Re-read, and ponder this last sentence. Dear
reader, you will derive far more benefit from a single verse of Scripture
read slowly and prayerfully, and duly meditated upon, than you will from
ten chapters read through hurriedly!
Meditation is well-nigh a lost art. And it is at the root of most of our
troubles. How many complain that they find it so difficult to remember
passages of Scripture, passages which they have read perhaps many times.
But this is easily explained. It is because the passage was not turned over in
the mind; it was not duly “pondered” (

Luke 2:39). Did you ever notice
that the “Blessed Man” of Psalm 1 “meditated” in God’s Law day and
night? Meditation is a wonderful aid to fixing in our minds verses and
passages of Scripture.
Let us give an illustration of what we mean by meditation. We select one
of the most familiar verses in all the Bible (

Psalm 23:4),
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I
will fear no evil. for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they
comfort me.”
Now, as I begin to meditate upon this I take each word or expression
separately and then ask them questions. The first thing that strikes my
attention is the way in which the verse opens. It does not say “When I
shall walk through the valley,” but “Yea, though I walk.” I ponder this
over. I ask it a question; I say, why this indefinite language? Is it not certain
that one day I shall be called on to walk through the valley of shadows?
And then I remember that blessed word in

1 Corinthians 15:51. “We
shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” Then I see why the Holy
Spirit caused this Psalm to open thus.
Next I turn to the central thing in this verse — “the valley of the shadow of
death.” through which the believer, who does die, passes. I ask, Why is
dying likened to walking through a “valley”? What are the thoughts
suggested by this figure? As I turn this question over in my mind it soon.226
occurs to me (as it should to anyone who gives it a little thought). Why, a
“valley” suggests peacefulness, fertility beauty, and particularly, easy
travel. A “valley” is the antithesis of a “mountain,” which is difficult and
dangerous to climb. In contradistinction, then. from climbing a mountain
which is arduous and hazardous, death is likened to walking through a
valley which is delightful and safe!
Then I go back to the beginning of the verse, and note thoughtfully each
single word. As the believer comes to the end of his earthly pilgrimage he
learns that death is simply like passing through a valley. Note he walks, not
runs, as though afraid. Then, observe, “though I walk through.” He does
not stay in the “valley,” but walks through it. Death is only a door through
which the believer passes from these scenes of sin and sorrow to the realm
of glory and bliss.
Next I observe that this “valley” is called the “shadow of death.” Why is
this? I must not hurry, or I shall be the loser. Let me continue pondering
each word separately, so that I may extract its own peculiar sweetness.
What is a “shadow”? Ah, how often it terrifies! How many of us, especially
during childhood, were frightened by shadows! But if we had only walked
right up to them we should have quickly discovered they were powerless to
injure us. And how many a believer has filled the valley of death with
terrifying phantoms! How fearfully has he contemplated these images of his
own unbelief! O fellow-believer there is nothing, absolutely nothing, for
thee to fear in death should it overtake you before the Lord Jesus returns.
This valley is called “the valley of the shadow of death” because a
“shadow” is the most harmless thing there is!
And now, as though at last the believer has fully grasped the blessedness of
these beautiful figures, having discovered that Death is not a difficult and
dangerous mountain to climb, but a “valley” — peaceful and easy-going —
to pass through; having learned that in this valley there is nothing more
terrifying than a “shadow” he now cries with exulting confidence, “I will
fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”
Here, then, is an example of what we mean by feeding on God’s Word.
Meditation stands to reading as mastication does to eating. Take a single
verse of Scripture at the beginning of the day; write it out on a slip of
paper, and carry it with you wherever you go. Refresh your memory as
opportunity occurs by re-reading it. Pray over it, and ask God to give you
a blessing out of this verse; to reveal to you its beauty and preciousness..227
Then ponder each word separately. Ask the verse questions and seek to
discover its deeper meaning. Suppose you are meditating on

“The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him,
and delivereth them.”
Ask such questions as these: Why “the angel”? who is it? “Encampeth”;
note the perfect tense (continuous) — what is suggested by this figure?
“Round about” — what is meant by this? “Them that fear Him” — am I
one of them? “And delivereth them” — from what? — find answer from
other Scriptures which speak of “deliver” and “deliverance.”
Assimilation. This is the result of appropriation and mastication, and the
chief end in view. The food which I eat is to supply the waste of the body.
The food which I have masticated and digested is now taken up into my
system, and is transmuted into blood and tissue, thereby affording health
and strength. The food thus assimilated appears in the vigor of my step, the
strength of my arm, the glow on my face. And now equipped, my system is
able to ward off the disease germs which attack my body. All of this has its
counterpart in the spiritual man. The food which I have taken into my soul,
if properly digested, will build up the new nature. It will nourish faith, and
supply the needed strength for my daily walk and service. Moreover, it will
be a safeguard against the germs of temptation which assail me —
“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against
Thee” (

Psalm 119:11).
Here, then, is the grand end in view. God’s Word is given us to feed upon,
and this feeding is for the purpose of translating the Scriptures into the
terms of daily living. The principles and precepts of the Bible must be
incorporated into my life. The Word has not been assimilated until it has
become the regulator of my walk and the dynamo of my service.
Then said the Lord unto Moses,
“Behold I will rain bread from Heaven for you; and the people shall
go out and gather a certain rate every day” (v. 4)..228
The manna which Israel gathered today would not suffice them for
tomorrow. A new supply must be secured each day. The spiritual
application of this is very evident. The soul requires the same systematic
attention as does the body, and if this be neglected and our spiritual meals
are taken irregularly. the results will be equally disastrous. But how many
fail at this very point! What would you think of a man who sat down to his
Sunday dinner and tried to eat sufficient then, at one meal, to last him for
the whole week? And yet that is precisely the method followed by
multitudes of people with their spiritual food. The only time they get an
adequate spiritual meal is on Sunday, and they make that last them for the
remainder of the week. Is there any wonder that so many Christians are
weak and sickly! O let us face the fact that our souls are in urgent need of a
daily supply of the Bread of Life. Whatever else be left undone let us see
to it that we regularly feed on the spiritual manna. Remember, it is not the
amount of time spent, but the amount of heart which is put into the time
which counts.
“And in the morning the dew lay round about the host. And when
the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the
wilderness there lay a small round thing” (vv. 13, 14).
Here is a lesson which all of us need to seriously take to heart. It was in the
early morning, before other things had time to occupy their attention, that
God’s people of old gathered their daily supply of the manna. And this is
recorded “for our learning.” The Divine Word must not be given a
secondary place if we would have God’s blessing upon us. What a
difference it would make in many a Christian life if each day was BEGUN
in God’s presence! How many, now weak and sickly, would become
strong in the Lord and in the power of His might if they formed the habit
of feeding each morning on the Bread of Life! If the soul was fed at the
time of “the dew,” strength would be obtained and we should be equipped
for the duties that lay before us and girded for the temptations which
confronted us throughout the day!
Let no reader complain that he has not the time. You may not have time
for the careful study of a whole chapter each morning, though even that is
to be seriously questioned, but certain it is that you have time to
prayerfully select one verse of Scripture and write it out on a piece of.229
paper and attempt to commit it to memory, consulting it during your spare
minutes through the day, on the train, or the streetcar, if needs be — the
writer memorized the whole epistle of Ephesians on the streetcar, a verse
at a time. Certain it is that you do have time to meditate on this one verse
throughout the day, and to ponder each word separately. And after the
labors of the day are over you may sit down (if only for five minutes) and
look up the parallel passages, given in the marginal references. If you will
do this daily you will be surprised and delighted at the incalcuable blessing
it will bring to your soul.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”

Matthew 6:33).
“We are reminded by the gathering of it of the Lord’s words,
‘Labor for the meat.’ They did not indeed labor to bring it from
Heaven: their labor was to gather it when rained down to them
from thence. And here we find that they had to use diligence. It
would not keep; they could not lay up a stock for the future: every
day they had afresh to be employed with it. If they were not out
early and the sun rose upon it, it melted. And here is where
diligence on our part is so much needed. Would that we
understood this, beloved brethren, better! Manna did not fall into
their mouths, but around their tent. They had to use diligence to
gather it. Do we understand the necessity of diligence in the
apprehension of Divine things? Do we understand that the
character of the Word of God is such, as that however plain in a
sense it may be, yet it ministers in fact its fullness only to those who
have earnestness of heart to seek it. Only ‘if thou criest after
knowledge’ says the wise man, ‘and lifted up thy voice for
understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as
for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.’ And yet He adds for the Lord
giveth wisdom.’ But He gives it according to the rules of His own
holy government.
“Labor is here, therefore, very specially needed; not that the labor
simply by itself is anything; not that man’s efforts only can ever
here procure for himself what God alone supplies, but still God.230
seeks from us that diligence which shows our apprehension of the
treasure that His Word is. He does not give to carelessness or
indolence of soul, nor is faith simply a receiver here, but a worker
with God.” (Mark Grant.)
Before “an omer” could be gathered much labor was entailed, for them
manna was “a small round thing.”
It grew not upon the trees, but fell upon the ground. In order to obtain it
the Israelites had to go down on their knees. How significant, and how
accurate the type! Diligence on our part is required if we are to appropriate
from the Word that which our souls need. But something more than
diligence is necessary. There must be dependence upon God, the Author of
the Word. There must be a seeking from Him. We must get down on our
knees and cry, “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things
out of Thy Law.”
“And the children of Israel did so, and gathered some more, some
less” (v. 17).
How like what we find around us today! Some Christians confine
themselves to the Psalms and the Gospels, rarely referring to any other
section of the Bible. Others study the Church Epistles, but neglect the
prophetical portions. A few study the Old Testament, as well as the New,
and derive immeasurable delight in the wonderful types to be found there
on almost every page. It is also true with the spiritual manna that some
“gather more, some less.”
“Let no man leave of it till the morning” (v. 19). Divine truth is not to be
hoarded up, but turned to present profit. We are to use what God has
given us. We are first to walk in the truth ourselves, and then to
recommend it to others.
As the Lord gives us opportunities it is our happy privilege to pass on to
others what He has given to us. It is in this way that Christian fellowship
becomes most helpful — when we spend an hour, or even a few minutes,.231
with a fellow-believer and discuss together the things of God, instead of
the things of the world.
“And when the children of Israel saw it they said one to another it
is manna: for they wist (knew) not what it was” (v. 15).
There was something about this manna which the Israelites could not
understand. It was different from anything else they had ever seen. They
possessed no knowledge of it. The very word “manna” means “What is it”?
“They wist not what it was.” Thus it is also with that which the manna
prefigured. The unregenerate are unable to comprehend the Scriptures:
“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for
they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them because
they are spiritually discerned” (

1 Corinthians 2:14).
“And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting and
the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us
flesh to eat? We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt
freely: the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the
onions, and the garlic: But now our soul is dried away: there is
nothing at all, besides this manna before our eyes” (

Israel were not alone as they came forth from Egypt. They were
accompanied by “A mixed multitude” which had, doubtless, been deeply
impressed by Jehovah’s plagues and interventions on Israel’s behalf, but
who had no knowledge of God for themselves. Just so it is today; side by
side with the wheat grows the tares. There is a “mixed multitude” in the
Christian profession, and these like their ancient forefathers, despise the
manna. They have no relish for spiritual things. They may own a Bible,
perhaps one with all expensive binding and beautifully gilded; but its
contents are dry and incipid to them..232
“And Moses said unto Aaron, ‘Take a pot, and put an omer full of
manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord to be kept for your
generations.’ (v. 33).

Hebrews 9:4 tells us that it was a ‘golden pot.’ This is very striking.
The manna was not to be stored up in the tents of the Israelites for a single
day; yet here we see it preserved for almost forty years in the Tabernacle.
It was to be kept for the land of Canaan. And so with the antitype: while
we cannot feed on yesterday’s experience and make that satisfy the need of
today, nevertheless, our experiences from day to day in the wilderness will
be found again with rich and blessed fruitage. The ‘golden pot’ in which
the manna was stored tells of what a high value God sets upon that which
it typified. The fact that the manna was kept in the ark till Canaan was
reached, tells of how God has preserved the Scriptures all through the
“And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years until they
came to a land inhabited: they did eat manna until they came unto
the borders of the land of Canaan” (v. 35).
This tells of what an inexhaustible supply God has for His people. To the
end of the wilderness journey the manna continued. And thank God this is
true of the spiritual manna. The grass withereth and the flower fadeth, but
the Word of the Lord endureth forever. We may be in the “last days” of
this age; the “perilous times” may be upon us; but we still have God’s
blessed word. May we prize it more highly, read it more carefully, study it
more diligently.
Here is the grand secret of a healthy and vigorous spiritual life. It is by
earnestly desiring the sincere (pure) milk of the Word, that we grow
thereby. It is by daily feeding on the Bread of Life that we obtain the
strength which we need. It is through having God’s Word in our hearts that
we are kept from sinning against. Him. And it is in this way that we should
be able to say with Jeremiah,
“Thy words were found and I did eat them; and Thy Word was
unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.” (


In our last paper we considered the “manna” with which Jehovah supplied
the bodily need of Israel in the wilderness as a type of the Food which God
had so graciously provided for the sustenance of our souls. That Food is
His own blessed Word. But “the Word” is used both of the Scriptures and
of the Lord Jesus Christ. The two are most intimately related. “In the
volume of the Book,” said Christ, “it is written of Me” (

Psalm 40:7);
and again, “Search the Scriptures… they are they which testify of Me”

John 5:39). Almost everything that can be postulated of the one can be
predicted of the other. But the chief value of the written Word is to set
forth the perfections and bring us into communion with the incarnate
Word. It is only as we feed upon Christ Himself that we truly feed upon
the written Word. Therefore in this article we shall confine our attention to
the manna typifying the person and perfections of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Beneath many a figure and behind innumerable shadows and symbols the
anointed eye may discern the glories of our blessed Lord. It should be our
chief delight as we read the O.T. Scriptures to prayerfully search for that
which foreshadows Him of whom “Moses and the prophets” did write. All
doubt is removed as to whether or not the manna pointed to the incarnate
Son by His own words in

John 6:32, 33. There we find the Savior
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from
Heaven; but My Father giveth you the true Bread from Heaven. For
the Bread of God is He which cometh down from Heaven and
giveth life unto the world.”
May the Spirit of God now condescend to open our sin-blinded eyes as we
earnestly desire to behold “wondrous things” out of His perfect Law.
1. The Occasion of the giving of the Manna is both striking and solemn.
After being the recipients of wondrous mercies from the Lord, Israel.234
arrived in the Wilderness of Sin. But no sooner had they come thither than
we find that the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured
against Moses and Aaron, saying,
“Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of
Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, and when we did eat bread to
the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this
whole assembly with hunger” (v. 3).
A more fearful exhibition of unbelief, ingratitude, and rebellion could
scarcely be imagined. The marvel is that the fiery judgments of God did not
consume them there and then. But instead of pouring upon them His wrath,
He dealt with them in marvellous grace by raining bread from Heaven for
Strikingly does this picture the condition of that world into which the Lord
of Glory descended. For four thousand years the temporal and
governmental mercies of God had been showered upon the human race,
making His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, sending His rain on the
just and the unjust (

Matthew 5:45). And what had been man’s
“When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were
they thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their
foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they
became fools, and changed the glory of the un-corruptible God into
an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and to four-footed
beasts, and creeping things” (

Romans 1:21-23.)
Little better was it with Israel, as a glance at their O.T. history will show.
What wonder, then, if God had abandoned the whole race! But no; in
matchless, wondrous grace, He sent forth His own beloved Son to a world
wherein every human creature had forfeited every possible claim upon His
goodness and mercy.
2. The Place where the Manna fell is also deeply significant. It was in the
“Wilderness of Sin” (16:1) that the “bread from Heaven” first fell. Surely it
were impossible to select a more fitting title to accurately describe the
character of that world into which the Son of God descended. Verily, a
wilderness of sin was this world to the Holy One of God! A wilderness!
What is a “wilderness”? It is a homeless place. No one would think of
building a house there. And a homeless place was this world to the Son of.235
God. No room in the inn at His birth; not where to lay His head during the
days of His public ministry; a borrowed grave for His crucified body, sums
it all up. A wilderness of sin! Never was that more apparent than when the
Sinless One was here. How the Light exposed the hidden things of
darkness! How the murder of the Savior demonstrated the sinfulness of
Jew and Gentile alike!
3. The Glory of the Lord was linked with the giving of the Manna.
“And it came to pass as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation
of the children of Israel that they looked toward the wilderness,
and, behold, the glory, of the Lord appeared in the Cloud” (v. 10).
This is very striking indeed. It is the first time we read of the appearing of
“the glory of the Lord,” not only in connection with Israel, but in Scripture.
Marvelously accurate is this detail of our type. Not until the Son of God
became incarnate was “the glory of the Lord” fully revealed. But when the
eternal Word became flesh and tabernacled among men, then, as the
beloved apostle declares, “We beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten
of the Father (

John 1:14). The “glory of God” is seen “in the
face of Jesus Christ” (

2 Corinthians 4:6).
4. The Manna came down from Heaven. “Then said the Lord unto Moses,
Behold I will rain bread from Heaven for you.” The manna was not a
product of this earth. It grew neither in the wilderness nor in Egypt. It was
neither produced by human efforts nor manufactured by human skill. It
descended from God. It was a gift from Heaven come down to earth. So
our Lord Jesus was no native product of this earth. As we read in

Ephesians 4:10, “He that descended is the same also that ascended up
far above all heavens.” The first man (Adam) was of the earth, earthy; but
the second Man (Jesus Christ) was “The Lord from Heaven” (

Corinthians 15:48.)
5. The Manna was a free gift from God.
“And Moses said unto them. This is the bread which the Lord hath
given you to eat” (v. 15).
No charge was made for this manna. It was neither a wage to be earned
nor a prize to be won, but was a token of God’s grace and love. No
payment was demanded for it. It was without money and without price..236
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have
everlasting life” (

John 3:16).
Let us join with the apostle in saying.
“Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift”

2 Corinthians 9:15).
6. The Manna was sent to the Israelites.
“Behold I will rain bread from Heaven for you; and the people shall
go out and gather a certain rate every day” (v. 4).
Two truths are here illustrated. First, the Manna was God’s provision for
His elect people, and for none others. We do not read of God raining
manna upon Egypt nor upon Canaan. It was given to Israel in the
wilderness and to them alone. just as the Pascal lamb was for them and not
for the Egyptians. So, too, Christ is God’s Provision for those whom He
“ordained unto eternal life.” Listen to His own words in

John 17:19:
“For their sakes I sanctify Myself” — set Myself apart unto death. It was
for “the sheep,” not the goats, that He gave His life (

John 10:11).
But second, this manna was also sent to a needy and foodless people.
Whatever food Israel had brought with them out of Egypt was, by this
time, all consumed. From the human side, they seemed in imminent danger
of starving to death. Had not God met their need they would have perished
in the wilderness. But from the Divine side everything was sure. God had
purposed to bring Israel to Sinai (

3:12), and His counsel cannot fail. A
complete provision did He make for His needy people. It is the same now.
By nature, the elect of God are “children of wrath, even as others”

Ephesians 2:3). Shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin, their lot is
indeed a desperate one. But praise be to God, full provision is made for
them. The Bread of Life is their all-sufficient supply. Even before His birth
it was announced,
“Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall His people from their
sins” (

Matthew 1:21).
7. The Manna came right down to where the Israelites were. The Israelites
were in immediate danger of starving to death, but as we have seen, God
graciously made provision to supply their need and now we would notice.237
that no long journey had to be taken in order to secure that which would
satisfy their hunger — the manna fell all around the camp.
“And in the morning the dew lay round about the host; and when
the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the
wilderness there lay a small round thing” (vv. 13, 14).
Here we have foreshadowed the blessed fact that, to the sinner conscious
of his need and anxious to meet with the Savior, God says, “Say not in
thine heart Who shall ascend into Heaven? (that is to bring Christ down
from above) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring Christ
again from the dead). But what saith it? The Word is nigh thee.” And out
of this very nearness springs the sinner’s responsibility. All around each
tent door lay the manna. Something had to be done with it. It must either
be gathered or trodden under foot! Sinner, what are you doing with the
Christ of God? Remember His searching words, “He that is not with Me is
against Me.”
8. The Manna must be gathered by each individual.
“This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it
every man according to his eating” (v. 16).
It is so spiritually. Receiving Christ (

John 1:12) is a personal matter. No
one can believe for another. There is no salvation by proxy. The gospel of
Christ is,
“the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth”

Romans 1:16),
and “he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16: 16). Saving faith is
that act whereby each awakened sinner appropriates Christ unto himself. It
is true that Christ loved the Church as a whole, and gave Himself for it

Ephesians 5:25), but it is also the happy privilege of each member of
that Church to say with the Apostle Paul, “Who loved me and gave
Himself for me” (

Galatians 2:20). Have you, dear reader, believed on
the Lord Jesus Christ?
9. The Manna met a daily need.
“Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from
heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain
rate every day” (v. 4)..238
The manna which they gathered today would not suffice them for
tomorrow. They needed to obtain a fresh supply each day. It is just here
that so many of the Lord’s people fail. We, too, need to feed upon Christ
“every day.” Just as in the physical realm the food which I ate yesterday
will not nourish me today, so my past experiences and attainments will not
meet the exigencies of the present. Christ must be kept constantly before
the heart. “Give us day by day our daily bread,” should be the prayer of
every child of God.
10. Appetite determined the amount gathered.
“This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded. Gather of it
every man according to his eating, an omer for every man,
according to the number of your persons take ye every man for
them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so and
gathered, some more, some less” (vv. 16, 17).
Thus we see that the appetite governed the amount gathered. How
strikingly and how solemnly true is this of the believer,
“We all have as much of Christ as we desire, no more, no less. If
our desires are large, if we open our mouth wide, He will fill it. We
cannot desire too much, nor be disappointed when we desire. On
the other hand, if we are but feebly conscious of our need, a little
only of Christ will be supplied. The measure, therefore, in which we
feed upon Christ as our wilderness food, depends entirely upon our
felt spiritual need — upon our affections” (Ed. Dennett).
11. The Manna was despised by those who were not the Lord’s people.
“And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting, and the
children of Israel also went again, and said, Who shall give us flesh
to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the
cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the
garlic. But now our soul is dried away; there is nothing left at all,
beside this manna, before our eyes” (

Numbers 11:4-6).
How these words remind us of the language of Isaiah 53 — “And when we
shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire of Him. He is
despised and rejected of men.” The sin-blinded eyes of the natural man are
incapable of perceiving the attractiveness of the Lord Jesus: His wondrous
perfections he is unable to discern. So, too, he sees not his deep need, and.239
how Christ alone is able to meet that need. Hence he neither comes to
Christ nor desires Him.
12. The Manna fell upon the dew, not upon the dust of the ground.
“And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell
upon it” (

Numbers 11:9).
Everything in the Scriptures has a spiritual meaning and application. What,
then, is the significance of the above?

Genesis 3:19 throws light on this
passage — “dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” These words
were spoken to fallen man and called attention to the corruption which sin
had worked in him. “Dust,” here, and onwards, speaks of fallen humanity.
Now the manna fell not upon “the dust,” but upon the dew. How clearly
this foreshadowed the uniqueness and incorruptibility of our Lord’s
humanity! The Word became flesh, but in His humanity the Lord Jesus
shared not our corrupt nature. He took upon Him the form of a servant,
but the body which was prepared for Him (

Hebrews 10:5) belonged not
to the “dust” of this earth. Before He was born the angel announced unto
His mother,
“The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the
Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which
shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God”

Luke 1:35).
13. The Manna was white in color. We read in

Exodus 16:31,
“And the house of Israel called the name thereof manna; and it was
like coriander seed, white.”
This speaks of the spotless purity of our Lord as manifested outwardly in
His daily walk. He “knew no sin” (

2 Corinthians 5:21). “He was
without sin” (

Hebrews 4:13). “He did no sin” (

1 Peter 2:22). He
was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (

Hebrews 7:26).

1 Peter 1:19 we are told that He was a lamb “without spot and
without blemish.” The former expression referring to the absence of
outward pollution, the latter to the absence of inward defect. In His walk
through this scene of corruption He contracted no defilement. He only
could touch the leper without becoming contaminated. He was “without
spot,” pure, white..240
14. The Manna was sweet to the taste. “And the taste of it was like wafers
of honey” (v. 31). We need to go to the Song of Solomon for the
interpretation of this. There we read,
“As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved
among the sons. I sat down under His shadow with great delight,
and His fruit was sweet to my taste” (

And again,
“His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers; His lips like
lillies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh…. His mouth is most sweet;
yea, He is altogether lovely” (

5:13, 16).
The Lord grant that our “meditation of Him shall be sweet” (

15. The Manna was ground and baked.
“And the people went about and gathered it, and ground it in mills,
or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it”

Numbers 11:8).
How this speaks to us of the sufferings of our blessed Lord! Such
expressions as “He groaned for their hardness of heart,” He “sighed”
because of their unbelief, He “wept” over Jerusalem. and many others, tell
of the grinding of the manna. His treatment at the hands of the Jews and
the brutal soldiers in Herod’s judgment-hall show us the beating of the
manna. On the Cross we behold Him subjected to the fierce fires of God’s
wrath. Thus we learn that the manna, ground and beaten, speaks to us of
Him who “was bruised for our iniquities.”
16. The Manna was preserved on the Sabbath.
“And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, to-morrow
is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord, bake that
which ye will bake, and seeth that ye will seeth, and that which
remaineth over, lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And
they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade; and it did not stink,
neither was there any worm therein” (vv. 23, 24).
On the Sabbath day the manna was preserved, and in this, too. it speaks to
us of our blessed Lord. He is the only one who was preserved through.241
death. He lay in the tomb on the Sabbath day and was “kept,” for God had
“Neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption”

Psalm 16:10).
17. The Manna was laid up before the Lord. “And Moses said unto Aaron,
Take a pot and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the
Lord (v. 33). Concerning the anti-type, we read,
“For Christ is not entered into the holy place made with hands
which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to
appear in the presence of God for us” (

Hebrews 9:24).
The golden pot in which the manna was preserved tells of how God is
glorified in Him whom it foreshadowed.
“Although the Son of Man it is that gives it to us; although it is
humanity here that we know, and humanity in the form in which we
shall not find it when we shall reach Him above, yet it is humanity
in which God is glorified now, and so He will be glorified in it
forever. We shall find in the One upon the Throne of Glory, though
no longer ‘with a face marred more than any man’s,’ and a form
more than the sons of men — the very One whose face was marred
— the very One whose heart put Him into the sorrow in which we,
of necessity there, learned to know Him thus” (Mr. Grant).
18. The Manna is called angel’s food. We read in

Psalm 78:25, man
did eat angel’s food; He gave them meat to the full”; the reference here is
to the giving of the manna to Israel in the wilderness. The anti-type of this
is brought before us in several passages in the last book of Scripture. Christ
not only feeds the souls of those of His people who are upon earth, but He
also satisfies the hearts of celestial beings. The unfallen angels find their
chief delight in feeding upon Christ. They worship Him, they serve Him,
and they tell forth His praises.
19. The Manna was given in the night. It was during the hours of darkness
that the manna was sent to the Israelites. It is while they were asleep
(picture of man’s helplessness, for we are never so helpless as when we are
asleep) that the bread was given from Heaven. So, too, it was when we
were in darkness and unbelieved impotent, “without strength,” that Christ
came to us. Moreover it will be at the close of this world’s night, when.242
“the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people,” that
the Bread of God shall return and give life to the world.
20. The Manna is now hidden. In

Revelation 2:17 we read, “To him
that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna.” So, too, Christ, of
whom the manna continually speaks, is now “hidden.” Unseen by the eye
of sense, He remains in Heaven till that day when He shall be manifested
before all the world.
“We shall not only ‘see’ the Heavenly manna, but we shall ‘eat’ of
it again. Fresher than ever will be our realization of His love and
the perfection of the grace which is manifested toward us. It is then
in fact, when we come to be there, that we shall have the full
enjoyment; knowing as we are known, of all the experiences, which
though they be experiences of the wilderness, yet, wait for the land
to which we are hastening to find their full interpretation and
blessing. The meat endures to everlasting life. The meat itself
endures. We are enjoying that which shall be our joy for eternity.
We are feeding on that which shall be our food for eternity” (Mr.
We are conscious that our treatment of this wonderful and precious type is
most inadequate and unworthy. But if it leads our fellow-believers to a
more careful study of the written Word, and to a deeper longing to become
better acquainted with the incarnate Word, our feeble efforts will be well

“And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from
the Wilderness of Sin” (v. 1).
Mark that this chapter opens with the word “And,” connecting it with the
one preceding. So, too, chapter 16 begins with “And,” linking it on to the
closing verses of 15. “And” is a little word, but we often miss that which is
of much importance and value through failing to weigh it carefully. There
is nothing trivial in God’s Word, and each word and syllable has its own
meaning and worth. At the close of Exodus 15 (v. 23) Israel came to
Marah, and they could not drink of the waters there because they were
bitter. At once we find the people murmuring against Moses, saying.
“What shall we drink?” (v. 24). Sad, sad was this, after all that the Lord
had done for them. Moses cried unto God, and in long-suffering grace He
at once came to the relief of the people. The Lord showed him a tree,
which when cast into the bitter waters, at once sweetened them. After this
experience they reached Elim, where were twelve wells of water. There
Exodus 15 closes.
Exodus 16 opens with “And.” Why? To connect with what has just
preceded. But for what purpose? To show us the in-excusableness and to
emphasize the enormity of the conduct of Israel immediate following; as
well as to magnify the marvellous patience and infinite mercy of Him who
bore so graciously with them. Israel had now entered the wilderness, the
Wilderness of Sin, and it furnished no food for them. How, then, do they
meet this test of faith? After their recent experience at Marah, one would
suppose they promptly and confidently turned unto their Divine Benefactor
and looked to Him for their daily bread. But instead of doing this we read,
once more,
“The whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured
against Moses and Aaron” (

and not only so, they
“spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the
wilderness?” (

Psalm 78:19).
Yet, notwithstanding their petulency and unbelief, the Lord again came to
their relief and rained down bread from Heaven. The remainder of the
chapter is occupied with details concerning the manna.
Now, once more, the chapter before us for our present study, begins with
“And.” The opening verse presents to us a scene very similar to that which
is found at the beginning of the previous chapter. Israel are once again face
to face with a trial of faith. Their dependency upon God is tested. This time
it is not lack of food, but absence of water. How this illustrates the fact
that the path of faith is a path of trial. Those who are led by God must
expect to encounter that which is displeasing to the flesh, and also a
constant and real testing of faith itself. God’s design is to wean us from
everything down here, to bring us to the place where we have no reliance
upon material and human resources, to cast us completely upon Himself. O
how slow, how painfully slow we are to learn this lesson! How miserably
and how repeatedly we fail! How long-suffering the Lord is with us. It is
this which the introductory “And” is designed to point. Here in Exodus 17
it is but a tragic repetition of what it signifies at the beginning of chapter
“And there was no water for the people to drink.” What of that? This
presented no difficulty to Him who could part the sea asunder and then
make its waves return and overwhelm their enemies. It was no harder for
Jehovah to provide water than it was for Him to supply them with food.
Was not He their Shepherd? If so, shall they want? Moreover, had not the
Lord Himself led Israel to Rephidim? Yes, for we are here expressly told,
“The children of Israel journeyed according to the commandment of the
Lord, and pitched in Rephedim.” He knew there was no water there, and
yet He directed them to this very place! Well for us to remember this.
Ofttimes when we reach some particularly hard place, when the streams of
creature-comfort are dried up, we blame ourselves, our friends, our
brethren, or the Devil perhaps. But the first thing to realize in every
circumstance and situation where faith is tested, is, that the Lord Himself
has brought us there! If this be apprehended, it will not be so difficult for
us to trust Him to sustain us while we remain there..245
“Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us
water that we may drink” (v. 2).
The word “chide” signifies that the people expostulated with Moses in an
angry manner for bringing them hither, reproaching and condemning him as
the cause of their trouble. When they said to him, “Give us water that we
may drink,” it was either that they petulantly demanded he should give
what God only could provide, signifying that he was under obligations to
do so, seeing that he was the one who had brought them out of Egypt into
the wilderness; or, because they had seen him work so many wonders, they
concluded it was in his power to miraculously obtain water for them, and
hence, insisted that he now do this.
“And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? Wherefore do
ye tempt the Lord?” (v. 2).
Moses at once reminded the Israelites that in criticizing him they arraigned
the Lord. The word “tempt” in this verse seems to signify try or test. They
tried His patience, by once more chiding His servant. They called into
question both His goodness and faithfulness. Moses was their appointed
leader, God’s representative to the people; and therefore to murmur
against him was to murmer against the Lord Himself.
“And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured
against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us
up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with
thirst?” (v. 3).
As their thirst increased they grew more impatient and enraged, and threw
out their invectives against Moses.
“Had Israel been transported from Egypt to Canaan they would not
have made such sad exhibitions of what the human heart is, and, as
a consequence, they would not have proved such admirable
ensamples or types for us: but their forty years’ wandering in the
desert furnish us with a volume of warning, admonition, and
instruction, fruitful beyond conception. From it we learn, amongst
many other things, the unvarying tendency of the heart to distrust
God. Anything, in short, for it but God. It would rather lean upon a
cobweb of human resources than upon the arm of an omnipotent,
all-wise, and infinitely gracious God; and the smallest cloud is more
than sufficient to hide from its view the light of His blessed.246
countenance. Well, therefore, may it be termed ‘an evil heart of
unbelief.’ which will ever show itself ready to ‘depart from the
living God’” (C.H.M.).
“And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this
people? they be almost ready to stone me” (v. 14).
It is beautiful to see that Moses made no reply to the cruel reproaches
which were cast upon him. Like that Blessed One whom he in so many
respects typified,
“When He was reviled. He reviled not again; when He suffered. He
threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth
righteously” (

1 Peter 2:23).
This is what we see Moses doing here. Instead of returning an angry and
bitter rejoinder to those who falsely accused him, he sought the Lord.
Blessed example for us. This was ever his refuge in times of trouble (cf.

15:25 etc.). The fact that we are told Moses “cried unto the Lord”
indicates the earnestness and vehemence of his prayer. “What shall I do?”
expressed a consciousness of his own inability to cope with the situation,
and also showed his confidence that the Lord would come to his and their
relief. How often should we be spared much sorrowful regret later, if,
instead of replying on the spur of the moment to those who malign us, we
first sought the Lord and asked, “What shall I do?”
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take
with thee of the ciders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou
smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand
before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shall smite the
rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may
drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel”
(v. 5, 6).
his brings before us one of the many Old Testament types of the Lord
Jesus, one for which we have New Testament authority for regarding it as
such. In

1 Corinthians 10:1-4 we read,
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how
that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the
sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same.247
spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed
them: And that Rock was Christ.”
The “Rock” is one of the titles of Jehovah, found frequently on the pages
of the O.T. In his “song,” Moses laments that Israel forsook God and
“lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation” (

Deuteronomy 32:15). In
his song, we also hear the sweet singer of Israel saying,
“The Lord is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer”

2 Samuel 22:2).
The Psalmist bids us make a “joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation”

95:1). While the prophet Isaiah tells us
“And a Man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert
from the tempest as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of
a Great Rock in a weary land” (

In the N.T. we get that memorable and precious word, “Upon this Rock
(pointing to Himself, not referring to Peter’s confession) I will build My
church” (

Matthew 16:18).
The first thing that impresses one when we see a rock is its strength and
stability, a characteristic noted in Scripture in the question of Bildad to
Job, “Shall the rock be removed out of his place?” (Job. 18:4). This is a
most comforting thought to the believer. The Rock upon which he is built
cannot be shaken: the floods may come, and the winds may beat upon it,
but it will “stand” (

Matthew 7:25).
Another prominent characteristic of rocks is their durability. They outlast
the storms of time. Waters will not wash them away, nor winds remove
them, from their foundations. Many a vessel has been dashed to pieces on a
rock, but the rock stands unchanged; and it is a deeply solemn thought that
those who are not built upon The Rock, will be shattered by it — “And
whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken,” said Christ, pointing to
Himself, “but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder”

Matthew 21:24).
A third feature that may be mentioned about a rock is its elevation. It
towers high above man and is a landmark throughout that part of the
country where it is situated. Some rocks are so high and so steep that they
cannot be scaled. Each of these characteristics find their application to and.248
realization in the Lord Jesus. He is the strong and powerful One — “The
mighty God” (

Isaiah 9:6). He is the durable One — “the Same
yesterday and today and forever.” He is the elevated One, exalted to the
Throne of Heaven, seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
The first thing to be noted here in our type is that the rock was to be
smitten. This, of course, speaks of the death of the Lord Jesus. It is striking
to note the order of the typical teaching of Exodus 16 and 17. In the
former we have that which speaks of the incarnation of Christ; in the latter,
that which foreshadowed the crucifixion of Christ. Exodus 17 is
supplementary to chapter 16. Christ must descend from Heaven to earth
(as the manna did) if He was to become the Bread of life to His people; but
He must be smitten by Divine judgment if He was to be the Water of life to
them! Here is another reason for the opening “And.”
There are three details here which enable us to fix the interpretation of the
smiting of the rock as a type of the death of the Lord Jesus.
First, it was to be smitten by the rod of Moses. The “rod” in the hand of
Moses had been the symbol of judgment. The first reference to it definitely
determines that. When he cast it on to the ground it became a “serpent”

4:3) — reminder of the curse. With his rod the waters of the Nile were
smitten and turned into blood (

7:17), and so on.
Second, only the “elders of Israel” witnessed the smiting of the rock. This
emphasizes the governmental character of what was here foreshadowed.
Third, Jehovah Himself stood upon the rock while it was smitten.
“Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb” (v. 6) —
marvellous line in the picture was this. Putting these things together what
spiritual eye can fail to see here a portrayal of our Substitute being smitten
by the rod of Divine justice, held in the hand of the Governor of the
Universe. Doubtless that word in

Isaiah 53:4, 5 looks back to this very
type — “Smitten of God…. by His stripes we are healed.” How solemn to
behold that it was the people’s sin which led to the smiting of the rock!
Out from the smitten rock flowed the water. Beautiful type was this of the
Holy Spirit — gift of the crucified, now glorified, Savior. May not this be
one reason why the Holy Spirit is said to be “poured out” (

Acts 2:18)?
— speaking in the language of this very type. The gift of the Holy Spirit
was consequent upon the crucifixion and exaltation of the Lord Jesus. This
is clear from His own words from

John 7:37, 38:.249
“Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto
Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Now mark the interpretation which is given us in the very next verse: “But
this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive:
for the Holy Spirit was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet
The Holy Spirit has given us a supplementary word through the Psalmist
which enhances the beauty of the picture found in Exodus 17. There we are
“He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry
places like a river. For He remembered His holy promise (to)
Abraham His servant” (

105:41, 42).
It was because of His covenant to Abraham that God gave the water to
Israel. So, too. we read of God promising to give eternal life to His elect
“before the world began” (

Titus 1:1, 2), and this, on the basis of “the
everlasting covenant” (Hebrews 13: 20).
1 Corinthians 10, also supplements Exodus 17. In the historical narrative
we read of Moses striking the rock in the presence of “the elders” of Israel,
but nothing is there said about the people drinking of the streams of water
that flowed from it. But in

1 Corinthians 10:4, we are told, “And did all
drink the same spiritual drink.” This is an important word. It affirms, in
type, that all of God’s people have received the Holy Spirit. There are
some who deny this. There are those who teach that receiving the Holy
Spirit is a second work of grace. This is a serious error. Just as all the
children of Israel (God’s covenant people) drank of the water from the
smitten rock. so in the anti-type, all of God’s children are made partakers
of the Holy Spirit, gift of the ascended Christ —
“And because ye are sons, God had sent forth the Spirit of His Son
into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (

Galatians 4:6).
There is no such thing as a believer in Christ who has not received the Holy
“If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of Him”

Romans 8:9)..250
Much of the blessedness of our type will pass unappreciated unless we note
carefully the occasion when the stream of living water gushed from the
smitten rock. It was not when Israel were bowed in worship before the
Lord. it was not when they were praising Him for all His abundant mercies
toward them. No such happy scene do the opening verses of Exodus 17
present to our view. The very reverse is what is there described. Israel
were murmuring (v. 3); they were ahnost ready to stone God’s servant (v.
4); they were filled with unbelief, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?”
(v. 7). The giving of the water, then, was God acting according to His
marvellous grace. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. But,
be it well noted, it was grace acting on a righteous basis. Not till the rock
was smitten did the waters flow forth. And not till the Savior had been
bruised by God was the Gospel of His grace sent forth to “every creature.”
What, my reader, is the response of your heart to this amazing and rich
mercy of God? Surely you say, out of deepest gratitude, “thanks be unto
God for His unspeakable Gift” (

2 Corinthians 9:15).
This paper would not be complete were we to close without a brief word
upon Numbers 20, where we again find Moses smiting the rock.
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather
thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron, thy brother, and
speak ye unto the rock before their eyes, and it shall give forth His
water, and thou shall bring forth to them water out of the rock; so
thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink” (vv. 7, 8).
What is recorded in Numbers 20 occurred forty years later than what has
been before us in Exodus 17. Almost everything here is in sharp contrast.
The rock in Exodus 17 foreshadowed Christ on the cross; the rock in
Numbers 20 pictured Him on high. The Hebrew word for “rock” is not the
same. The word used here in Numbers 20 means an elevated rock, pointing
plainly to the Savior in His exaltation. Next, we notice that Moses was not
now bidden to “strike” the rock, but simply to speak to it. In Exodus 17
the rock was smitten before the “elders” of Israel; here Moses was bidden
to “gather the assembly together.” And while Jehovah bade him take a rod,
it was not the rod used in Exodus 17. On the former occasion Moses was
to use his own rod — “Thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river.” That
was the rod of judgment. But here he was to take “The rod” (

20:8), namely, the rod of Aaron. This is clear from verse 9, “And Moses
took the rod from before the Lord, as He commanded him” if we compare.251
it with

Numbers 17:10 — “And the Lord saith unto Moses, Bring
Aaron’s rod again before the testimony (viz., the Ark in the Holy of
Holies), to he kept for a token against the rebels.” This, then, was the
priestly rod. Mark also how this aspect of truth was further emphasized in
the type by the Lord bid- ding Moses, on this second occasion, to take
Aaron along with him — Aaron is not referred to at the first smiting of the
rock! The interpretation of the typical meaning of

Numbers 20:8 is
therefore abundantly clear. The rock must not be smitten a second time,
for that would spoil the type.
“Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more;
death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He
died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.”

Romans 6:9, 10).
“But now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put
away sin by the sacrifice of Himself… So Christ was once offered to
bear the sins of many” (

Hebrews 9:26, 28).
Streams of spiritual refreshment flow to us on the ground of accomplished
redemption and in connection with Christ’s priestly ministry.
How solemn the sequel here. The servant of the Lord failed — there has
been but one perfect “Servant” (

Isaiah 42:1). The meekest man upon
earth became angry at the repeated murmurings of Israel. He addressed the
covenant people of God as “Ye rebels.” He asked them. “Must we fetch
you water out of the rock?” He “smote the rock twice” — indicating the
heat of his temper. And because of this God suffered him not to lead Israel
into Canaan. He is very jealous of the types — more than one man was
slain because his conduct marred them.
It is striking to note that though Moses smote the rock instead of speaking
to it. nevertheless, the refreshing waters gushed forth from it. How this
should warn us against the conclusion that a man’s methods must be right
if the Lord is pleased to use him. Many there are who imagine that the
methods used in service must be pleasing to God if His blessing attends
them. But this incident shows plainly that it is not safe to argue thus.
Moses’ methods were wrong; notwithstanding, God gave the blessing! But
how this incident also manifests, once more, the wondrous grace of God.
In spite of (not because of) Israel’s murmuring, and in spite of Moses’
failure, water was given to them, their every need was supplied. Truly, our.252
God is the “God of all grace.” May the realization of this draw out our
hearts in adoring worship, and may our lives rebound more and more unto
His glory..253

One thing that impresses the writer more and more in his studies in and
meditations upon the contents of this book of Exodus is the wonderful
variety and the comprehensive range of truth covered by its typical
teachings. Not only do its leading events and prominent characters
foreshadow that which is spiritual and Divine, but even the smallest details
have a profound significance. Moses is a type of Christ, Pharoah of Satan,
Egypt of the world. Israel groaning in bondage pictures the sinner in his
native misery. Israel delivered from their cruel task-masters speaks of our
our redermption. Their journey across the wilderness points to the path of
faith and trial which we are called on to walk. And now we are to see that
the history of Israel also adumbrated the conflict between the two natures
in the believer.
Our previous studies have already shown us that the experiences of Israel
in the wilderness were a series of trials, real testings of faith. Now we are
to see another aspect of the Christian’s life strikingly set forth: Israel were
called upon to do some fighting. It is very striking indeed to note the
occasion of this, the stage at which it occurred in Israel’s history. Not only
is there a wondrous variety and comprehensiveness about the typical
teachings of this second book of scripture, but the order in which they are
given equally displays the Divine hand of their Author.
*God is the God of order; Satan of confusion. The thoughless reader of
the Scriptures loses much by failing to observe the perfect arrangement of
everything in them.
In our last article we contemplated the smiting of the rock, from which
flowed the stream of water and of which all the people drank. This, as we
saw, typified the smiting of our blessed Savior by the hand of Divine
justice, and the consequent gift of the Holy Spirit to those who are His.
But after the Holy Spirit comes to take up His abode within the believer,.254
after a new and holy nature of His creating has been implanted, a strange
conflict is experienced, something hitherto unknown. As we read in

Galatians 5:17, “The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit
against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other.” It is this
which the scripture to be before us so accurately depicts.
The typical scene which we are about to study is of great practical
importance. Ignorance of what it sets forth, the truth which it illustrates,
has resulted in great loss and has been responsible for untold distress in
many souls, How many a one has thought, and. how many have been
taught, that when a sinner really receives Christ as his Savior, that God will
change his heart, and that henceforth he will be complete victor over-sin.
But “a change of heart” is nowhere spoken of in Scripture. God never
changes anything. The old is set aside or destroyed, and something
altogether new is created or introduced by Him. It is thus with the
Christian. The Christian is one who has been “born again,” and the new
birth is neither the removal of anything from a man, nor the changing of
anything within; but the impartation of something new to him. The new
birth is the reception of a new nature: “that which is born of the Spirit, is
Spirit” (

John 3:6).
At the new birth a spiritual, Divine nature is communicated to us, This new
nature is created by the Holy Spirit; the “seed” (

1 John 3:9) used is the
Word of God. (

1 Peter 1:23). This explains

John 3:5: “Born of
water and of the Spirit.” The “water” is the emblem of the pure and
refreshing Word of God (cf.

Ephesians 5:26). This is what is in view,
typically, in the first half of Exodus 17. But when the new nature is
communicated by God to the one born again, the old sinful nature remains,
and remains unchanged till death or the coming of Christ, when it will be
destroyed, for then “this corruptible shall put on incorruption” (

Corinthians 15:53). In the Christian, then, in every Christian, there are two
natures: one sinful, the other sinless; one born of the flesh, the other born
of God. These two natures differ from each other in origin, in character, in
disposition and in the activities, they produce. They have nothing in
common. They are opposed to each other. This is what is in view, typically
in the second half of Exodus 17.
The two natures in the Christian are illustrated in the life of Abraham. He
had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. The former represents that which is
“born of the flesh;” the latter, that which is “born of the Spirit.” Ishmael.255
was born according to the common order of nature. Isaac was not. Isaac
was born as the result of a miracle. God supernaturally quickened both
Abraham and Sarah, when the one had passed the age of begetting and the
other was too old to bear children. Ishmael, born first, was of “the bond-woman”;
Isaac of the “free-woman” (

Galatians 4:22). But after Isaac
entered the household of Abraham, there was a conflict:
“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian which she had born
unto Abraham, mocking.” (

Genesis 21:9).
That what we have Just heard said about the two sons of Abraham is no
fanciful or strained interpretation of ours, will be seen by a reference to

Galatians 4:29, where the Spirit of God has told us, “But as then he that
was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit even
so it is now.”
The two natures in the Christian are! also illustrated in the life of Isaac’s
son. Jacob. Jacob had two names: one which he received from his earthly
parents, are one which he received from God. The Lord called him “Israel”

Genesis 32:28). From that point onwards the history of Jacob-Israel
presents a series of strange paradoxes. His life exhibited a dual personality.
At one moment we see him trusting God with implicit confidence, at
another we behold him giving way to an evil heart of unbelief. If the
student will read carefully through chapters 33 to 49 of Genesis he will
notice how that sometimes the Holy Spirit refers to the patriarch as
“Jacob,” at other times as “Israel.” When “Jacob” is referred to it is the
activities of the old nature which are in view, when “Israel” is mentioned it
is the fruits of the new nature which are evidenced. For example; when
Joseph’s brethren returned to their father from Egypt and told him that his
favorite son was yet alive and was now governor over all the land of
Egypt, we are told, “And Jacob’s heart fainted for he believed them not”

45:26). But
“They told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto
them; and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry
him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: And Israel said, It is
enough; Joseph my son is yet alive” (

It is blessed to note the closing words concerning him:.256
“When Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he
gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the spirit… and the
physicians embalmed Israel” (

49:33; 50:2)!
“Jacob” died; “Israel” was embalmed. At death only the new nature will be
preserved! But that which we particularly emphasize here is, that during
the Christian’s life on earth there is a conflict between the two natures. Just
as Ishmael “persecuted” Isaac, and just as the Jacob-nature frequently set
aside the Isaac-nature, so it is in the Christian:
“the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh;
and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the
things that ye would.” (

Galatians 5:17).
What, then, is the remedy? Is there no way by which the flesh may be
subdued? Has God made no provision for the believer to walk in the spirit
so that he may not fulfill the lusts of the flesh? Certainly He has; and
absence of victory is due entirely to our failure to use the means of grace
which God has put in our hands. What these are, and how the victory
should be gained are clearly set forth in our type.
“Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim” (

17:8). In the
light of

Genesis 21:25; 26:19, 20;

Exodus 2:17;

Numbers 20:19;

Judges 5:11, where we learn that the possession of water (wells, etc.)
was frequently a bone of contention among the ancients, it is evident that
the spread of the news that a river of water was now gushing from the rock
in Rephidim, caused the Amalekites to attempt to gain possession. To do
this meant they must first disposess Israel; hence their attack. The first
thing to note here is the identity of Israel’s enemy. It was Amalek.
“Amalek” signifies “Warlike,” apt name for that whose lusts ever war
against the soul’” (

1 Peter 2:11). Amalek was the grandson of Esau

Genesis 36:12): ‘Who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright, and
when he would have inherited the blessing was rejected,’ is thus surely a
representative of the ‘old man’” (F.W.G.). Very striking in this connection
is the prophetic word of Balaam: “And when he looked for Amalek, he
took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations that
warred against Israel: but his latter end shall be that he perish forever”

Numbers 24:20). The character of Amalek comes out plainly in the
words of Moses concerning him at a later date — “He feared not God”

Deuteronomy 25:17, 18) — such is “the flesh.”.257
The second thing to be noted is the time when Amalek made his assault
upon Israel: “then came Amalek and fought with Israel.” The Holy Spirit
has called our attention to the time when this occurred. It was when Moses
smote the rock and the waters were given. Then. for the first time, Israel
was called upon to do some fighting — contrast

13:17. They had done
no fighting In the house of bondage, nor had the Lord called upon them to
fight the Egyptians at the Red Sea, But now that that which typified the
Holy Spirit had been given, their warfare commenced; yea, It was that
which typified the Holy Spirit that caused the Amalekites to attack Israel!
Wonderfully accurate is the type.
It is not until the Christian has been made partaker of the Divine nature

2 Peter 1:4) that the inward conflict begins. Previous to the new birth,
he was dead in trespass and sins; and therefore quite insensible to the
claims of God’s holiness. Until the Holy Spirit begins to shed abroad His
light upon our wicked hearts, we do not realize the depths and power of
the evil within us. Ofttimes the believer is astounded by the discovery of
the tendencies and desires within him, which he never knew before were
there. The religious professor knows nothing of the conflict between the
two natures nor of the abiding sense of inward corruption which this
experience conveys. The unregenerate man is entirely under the dominion
of the flesh, he serves its lusts, he does its will. The “flesh” does not fight
its subjects; it rules over them. But as soon as we receive the new nature
the conflict begins.
It is striking to note that it was not Israel who attacked Amalek, but
Amalek that attacked Israel. The new nature in the believer delights to feed
upon the Word, to commune with God, and be engaged with spiritual
things. But the flesh will not let him live in peace. The Devil delights to rob
the believer of his joy, and works upon the flesh to accomplish his fiendish
designs. The anti-type is in perfect accord. Note how that in

5:17 it is first said that “The flesh lusteth against the spirit,” and not vice
Next, let us note carefully the record of how Israel engaged Amalek in
“And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out,
fight with Amalek; tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with
the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to
him, and fought with Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up.258
to the top of the hill And it came to pass, when Moses held up his
hand that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek
prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone and
put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up
his hands, the one on one side and the other on the other side; and
his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua
discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of his sword” (vv.
There is considerable difference of opinion among the commentators
concerning the typical application of the above scripture. Some regard
Moses at the top of the hill with hands uplifted toward heaven as the figure
of Christ interceding for us on High. But that cannot be. And this for two
reasons: Moses was accompanied by Aaron and Hur; furthermore, his
hands grew heavy. It is grossly dishonoring to the perfect Word of God to
say that the type is imperfect at this point — far better to confess our
ignorance than to cast such reflections upon the Scriptures. Others regard
Joshua as the type of Christ in this incident, but that cannot be, because
Israel did not gain a complete victory over Amalek. Rather is it evident that
the respective actions of Moses and Joshua point out the provisions which
God has made for us to combat the flesh.
The first thing to note here is that Israel’s sucoess against Amalek was
determined by the uplifted hand of Moses:
“And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel
prevailed; and when he let down his hand Amalek prevailed” (v.
The significance of Moses’ attitude is clearly defined in several scriptures.
The uplifted hand was emblematic of prayer, the supplicating of God:
“Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto Thee, when I
lift up my hands toward Thy holy oracle” (

Psalm 28:2);
“I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands,
without wrath and doubting” (

1 Timothy 2:8).
Second, observe that “Moses’ hands grew heavy.” Here is where the real
and beautiful acccuracy of our type is to be seen. How soon we grow
weary of supplicating God! “Men ought always to pray and not to faint”

Luke 18:1), said our Lord. But how sadly we fail. How quickly our.259
hearts get “heavy”! And as soon as we lose the spirit of dependency upon
God the flesh prevails.
Third, but Moses was not left to himself. Blessed it is to mark this. Aaron
and Hur were with him, and “Stayed up his hands, the one on one side and
the other on the other side.” Here again we discover the beautiful accuracy
of our type. Surely there, is no difficulty in interpreting this detail. Aaron
was the head of Israel’s priesthood, and so speaks plainly of our great High
Priest. “Hur” means “light” — the emblem of Divine holiness, and so
points to the Holy Spirit of God. Thus God in His grace has fully provided
for us. Supported on either side, both the earthly and the heavenly.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities. For we know not
what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh
intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”

Romans 8:26);
this is on the earthly side.
“And another angel (Christ as “the Messenger of the Covenant”)
came and stood at the altar having a golden censer; and there was
given unto Him much incense, that He should offer it with the
prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the
throne” (

Revelation 8:3):
this is on the heavenly side — Christ receiving our supplications and
offering them to God, as accompanied by the sweet fragrance of His own
Fourth, the typical picture is completed for us by what is said in 5:13;
“And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the
sword.” The “sword” hero points to the Holy Scriptures (see

4:12). It is not by prayer alone that we can fight the flesh. The Word, too,
is needed. Said the Psalmist,
“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against
Thee” (

Psalm 119:11).
Some may object to what we have just said above about the Christian
fighting the flesh. We are not unmindful of

Romans 6:11 and

Timothy 2:22 and much that has been written thereon. But there are
scriptures which present other phases of our responsibility. There is a fight.260
to be fought (see

1 Timothy 6:12;

2 Timothy 4:7 etc,). And this fight
has to do with the flesh. Said the Apostle, “So fight I, not as one that
beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection”

1 Corinthians 9:26; 27).
Another thing which is important to note here is the fact that Amalek was
not destroyed or completely vanquished on this occasion. We only read
that “Joshua discomfited Amalek.” Here too, the type is in perfect accord
with the antitype. There is no way of destroying or eradicating the evil
nature within us. Though discomforted it still survives. Why, it may be
asked, does God permit the evil nature to remain in us? Many answers may
be given, among them these. That we may obtain a deeper and personal
realization of the awful havoc which sin has wrought in man. the total
depravity of our beings, and thereby appreciate the more the marvellous
grace which has saved such Hell-deserving wretches. That we may be
humbled before God and made more dependent upon Him. That we may
appropriate to ourselves His all-sufficient grace and learn that His strength
is made perfect in our weakness, That we may appreciate the more His
keeping-power, for left to ourselves, with such a sink of iniquity within, we
should surely perish.
A very helpful word and one which we do well to take to heart, is found in

Deuteronomy 25:17, 18:
“Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were
come forth out of Egypt; How he met thee by the way and smote
the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when
thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.”
How this should stir us up to watchfulness! It was the “hindmost” — those
farthest away from their leader — that were smitten. The flesh cannot
smite us while we are walking in close communion with God! And note
that it was when Israel were “faint arm weary that Amalek came down
upon them. This too is a warning word. What is the remedy against
faintness? This:
“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He
increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and
the young men shall utterly fail; But they that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength. they shall mount up with wings as eagles;.261
they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint”

Isaiah 40:30, 31).
Very blessed are the closing words of Exodus 17:
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a
book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua; for I will utterly put out
the remembrance of Amalek Item under heaven. And Moses built
an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-Nissi; For he said,
Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with
Amalek from generation to generation” (vv. 14-16).
God here promised that in the end He would utterly annihilate Amalek. In
the confident assurance of faith Moses anticipated God’s final victory by
erecting an altar and calling it “The Lord, our Banner.” How blessed to
know that at the end the Savior shall
“change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His
glorious body according to the working whereby He is able even to
subdue all things unto Himself.” (

Philippians 3:21)..262

The chapter before us contains two distinct sections: the first, covering
verses 1 to 12, presents to us a beautiful typical picture; the second, verses
13 to 27 contains important moral lessons. Exodus 18 is a parenthesis,
interrupting the chronological order of the book. In Exodus 17 Israel is
seen at Rephidim; in chapter 19 they are viewed at Siuai. The incident
recorded in Exodus 18 occurred just as Israel were about to leave Sinai
and enter the wilderness of Paran. It was in the third month after leaving
Egypt that Israel reached the Mount of the Law; it was eleven months later
that Jethro came to Moses bringing his wife and children. The proof for
this is conclusive.

Numbers 10:11, 12 we read
“And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in
the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the
tabernacle of the testimony. And the children of Israel took their
journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai, and the cloud rested in the
wilderness of Paran.”
Following this we are told
“And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel, the Midianite,
Moses father-in-law, We are Journeying unto the place of which
the Lord said I will give it you; come thou with us, and we will do
thee good; for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel. And
he said unto him, I will not go; but I will depart to my own land,
and to my kindred” (vv. 29, 30)
— compare with this the last verse of Exodus 18. Now it was after the
departure of Jethro (

18:24, 25) that Moses carried out the suggestion of
his father-in-law to select men to assist him in the work of governing Israel.263
— see

Numbers 11:11-17. Further confirmation of this is supplied in
Deuteronomy 1. Note “in Horeb” (v. 6) and then Moses’ words to Israel,
“I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you
myself alone… Take you wise men and understanding, and known
among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you” (vv. 9,
Finally; if Exodus 18 be read attentively there will also be found evidences
therein that God had already given Israel the law when Jethro came to
Moses. Per instance, note the mention of “The Mount of God” in 5:5;
Moses’ statement that the people now came unto him “to inquire of God”
(v. 15); his declaration that he “made them know the statutes of God and
His laws” (v. 16).
“When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, hoard of
all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that
the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt; then Jethro, Moses’
father-in-law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her
back, and her two sons; of which the name of the one was
Gershom, for he said I have been an alien in a strange land: and the
name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he,
was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh; And
Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife unto
Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the Mount of
God; and he said unto Moses, I thy father-in-law Jethro, am come
unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.” (vv. 1-6).
The dispensational scene which is here foreshadowed is very beautiful, and
the place which this one has in the series of typical pictures, in which the
book of Exodus abounds, evidences once more the hand of God, not only
in their production, but also in arranging their order. In Exodus 16 the
manna speaks of the incarnate Son, come down from heaven to earth. In
the first part of Exodus 17, the smiting of the rock views the Lord Jesus
stricken of God. In the issuing forth of the water, we get a lovely emblem
of the Holy Spirit ministering to the people of God. In the second half of
Exodus 17, where we find Amalek attacking Israel, and the defeat of the
former through the supplications of Moses — upheld by Aaron and Hur —
we have adumbrated the believer’s conflict with the flesh, and him
sustained in that conflict by the Joint intercession of Christ and the Holy
Spirit. This goes on to the close of the Chuech age. Here in Exodus 18 we.264
are carried forward to the next dispensation and are furnished with a
blessed foreshadowment of millennial conditions.
Zipporah restored to Moses is a perfect type of Israel brought back to the
Lord. Some see in Zipporah a type of the Church, but nowhere in the Old
Testament is the Church (as such — a corporate whole) ever seen —

Colossians 1:26, 27, etc., makes this very plain. Moreover, the details
of our type here should forbid such an interpretation.
In the first place, Zipporah had been separated from her husband. Now if
Zipporah figures the Church, mind the Church is the prospective wife of
Christ, the type fails us here completely. Those who believe that the
Church is the Bride of the Lamb acknowledge that the “marriage” is yet
future, occurring after the Rapture. If this be so, when, following the
Rapture, will the Church ever be separated from Christ? When, indeed! But
the type does not fail. It is perfectly accurate. Zipporah is the figure of
Israel, the wife of Jehovah (see

Isaiah 54:6;

Jeremiah 31:32, etc.),
now alienated from Him. (

Hosea 2:2, etc.), Yet to be restored to His
favor (

Isaiah 54:4-8, etc.).
In the second place, mark carefully the cause and ocassion of Zipporah’s
separation from her husband. This is found recorded near the close of
Exodus 4. When Moses started for Egypt to bring God’s people out of the
house of bondage his wife accompanied him. The Lord met him and sought
to kill him. The reason for this was his failure in not having circumcised his
son. The sequel suggests that the cause of this failure lay in his wife. At
once Zipporah herself performed the operation on her son, and then, in hot
anger, reproached Moses in the words: “A bloody husband thou art”

4:25), which is repeated in the very next verse. How plain, how
accurate the type! The disobedience of Zipporah in the matter of
circumcising her son points unmistakably to the failure of Israel under the
Law. The separation of Zipporah from Moses, because he was a “bloody
husband,” or literally, “a husband of bloods,” tells of Israel’s alienation
from God through the offense of the Cross. “We preach Christ crucified;
unto the Jews a stumbling-block’ (

1 Corinthians 1:23). It was blood-shedding
which was the “stumbling-block” to Zipporah!
In the third place, note the fruit of her marriage. She bore Moses “two
sons” (

18:3). Those who regard Zipporah as a type of the Church
ignore this detail, and conveniently so, for they can make nothing of it. But
that is no way to treat the Word of God. Whenever we come across.265
anything in it which fails to fit in with any of our views either of doctrine,
prophecy or the types, that should show us that something is wrong with
our views, that they need to be revised or enlarged. This line in our present
picture is also found in several of its companions. Joseph’s wife also bore
him two sons. So did Isaac’s. What then was typified thereby? The wife
contemplated Israel when first espoused to Jehovah — at Sinai. The fruit
of the marriage points to a later period in their history. What that period is
we are not left in doubt. The outstanding point in Israel’s later history was
in the days of Rehoboam, when the kingdom was rent asunder and divided
into two — the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. Thus the
“wife” was succeeded by her “two sons.”
In the fourth place, the names of Zipporahs’ sons are profoundly
significant. The firstborn was “Gershom,” which “a stranger there.” The
reason for Moses giving him this name was, “I have been a stranger in a
strange land” (

2:22). Appropriately does this speak of Israel in their
dispersion, away from their land. The second son was named “Eliezer,”
which means, “God is my helper.” Though scattered throughout the world,
Israel has been marvelously helped of God — He has preserved them all
through the centuries, preventing them from being either annihilated or
assimilated by the Gentiles. Many of the Jews fail to recognize how God is
helpping them, and it is most significant that the name of this second son of
Zipporah is not given until Exodus 18. where we have the Millennium in
view. Gershom is referred to in Exodus 2, not so Eliezer; not until Israel
has been restored to God will they recognize how marvelously He has
helped them!
Fifth, notice the time when Zipporah and her sons were restored to Moses.
It was “When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of
all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel His people that the Lord
had brought Israel out of Egypt; Then Jethro… took Zipporah… and her
two sons… and came unto Moses.” It was not while Moses was presenting
Jehovah’s demands before Pharoah, nor in the morning following the
Passover-night; but it was when Moses had become Israel’s leader and
law-giver! In like manner, Israel will not be restored to God until their
rejected Messiah is manifested on earth as their King and Lord.
Sixth, in striking accord with what we have just noted is the place where
Moses was when the reconciliation took place: “he encamped at the Meant
of God, (v. 5). Here, as always, the “mount” speaks of the kingdom, of.266
governmental authority (

Psalm 2:6;

Isaiah 2:3 etc. ) It was from the
summit of this same Mount that Jehovah gave the Ten Coramandments to
Moses. It was while seated upon a Mount that the Lord Jesus gave the
laws of His Kingdom (Mathew 5.). It was on the Mount that He was
transfigured, which was a miniature of HIS Kingdom-glory. It is to the
Mount that He shall return (

Zechariah 14:4). The “Mount of God” (v.
5) speaks, then, of the governnmental glory of Cod. And it is when the
governmental glory of God shall be displayed in the person of His Son on
earth that Israel shall be restored to Him!
Seventh, let us now observe that Zipporah and her sons were brought to
Moses by a Gentile, for Jethro was a Mldianite. There are many types of
Israel as Jehovah’s wife — espoused, divorced and restored — but each
one has its own distinctive features. Here we have that which, so far as the
writer is aware, is not found elsewhere in the types, though it is the direct
subject of prophecy. In Isaiah 18 there is a remarkable prediction. A Divine
call goes forth to some land “beyond the rivers of Ethiopia,” a maritime
power. most probably Great Britain. This land is bidden to send forth her
ships as swift messengers to “A nation scattered and peeled. To a people
terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden
down.” Clearly this oppressed people is Israel. In a coming day the
maritime Gentile power shall carry the dispersed Hebrews back to the land
of their fathers:
“In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of
a people scattered and peeled… to the place of the name of the
Lord of hosts, the mount Zion” (

Isaiah 18:7).
Note the words we have; placed in black and compare the language of
Exodus 18.
That which followed the reconciliation of Zipporah to her husband is
equally interesting and meaningful. First, we are told that
“Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done unto
Pharoah and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and all the travail that
had come upon them by the way, and how the Lord delivered
them” (v. 8).
Jethro, the Midianite, represents the Gentiles in the Millennium, who will
then learn fully, how wondrously the Lord had preserved Israel not only.267
through the vicissitudes of the centuries, but also through the birth-pangs
of the Tribulation.
Next we are told that,
“Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done to
Israel, whom He had delivered out of the band of the Egyptians”
(v. 9).
In the millennium the jealousy and hatred of the Gentiles against the Jews
will be removed. The confession of Jethro on this occasion is most
“Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing
wherein they dealt proudly He was above them” (v. 11).
Such will be the confession of the Gentiles when they learn of what the
Lord has done for His ancient people.
Finally, in verse 12 we are told,
“And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law took a burnt offering and
sacrifices far God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to
eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.”
Very blessed is this. Here is a plain foreshadowing of what we read of in

Isaiah 2:2, 3 and other Scriptures:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the
Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and
shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to
the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.”
The second half of Exodus 18, though being mainly of a practical rather
than a typical nature (so far as the writer is able to discern), adds one
beautiful line to this picture of the millennium
“And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads
over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of
fifties, and rulers of tens,” (v.

Does not this plainly foreshadow what is promised to us in

3:21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in My throne.”.268
The passage is too lengthy for us to quote in full, but let each reader turn
to and read carefully

Exodus 18:13-27. These verses record the failure
of Moses and are written for our admonition. Several most important
lesson are here plainly inculcated.
Moses had been appointed by the Lord as the leader and head of His
people. As Jethro witnessed the exacting duties of his son-in-law, advising
the people from morn to eve, he felt that Moses was undertaking too
much. Jethro feared for his health, and suggested that his son-in-taw
appoint some assistants. In listening to Jethro, Moses did wrong. From a
natural standpoint Jethro’s counsel was kindly and well-meant. It was the
amiability of the flesh, It presented a subtle temptation, no doubt. But the
man of God is not to be guided by natural principles; only that which is
spiritual should have any weight with him, Nor should he heed any human
counsel when he is engaged in the service of the Lord; he is to take his
orders only from the One who appointed him.
One thing that this passage does is to warn God’s servant’s against
following the advise of their relatives according to the flesh. Jethro’s eye
was not upon God, but upon Moses. It was not the eternal glory of
Jehovah which was before him, but the temporal welfare of his son-in-law

“Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou and this people that is with
thee; for this thing is too heavy far thee; thou art not able to
perform it thyself alone” (v. 18).
A parallel case is found in connection with our Savior. In

Mark 3:20 we
“And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could net
so much as eat bread.”
The Lord Jesus knew what it was to “spend and be spent.” But those
related to Him by fleshly ties did not appreciate this; for we are told in the
very next verse that, “When His friends heard of it, they went out to lay
hold on Him; for they said, He is beside Himself.” Very solemn is this and
very necessary for the servant of God to heed. The flesh (in us) must be
mortified in connection with our service just as much as in our daily walk.
When the Lord Jesus announced to His disciples for the first time that.269
“He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders
and chief priests and scribes to be killed,” we are told “then Peter
took Him and began to rebuke Him, saying, Pity Thyself, Lord: this
shall not be unto thee.” (

Matthew 16:21, 22).
Here again we behold the amiability of the flesh. It was what men would
call ‘the milk of human kindness.’ But it ignored the will and glory of God.
The answer of our Lord on this occasion is very solemn: “He turned, and
said unto Peter, Get thee behind Me, Satan; thou art an offense unto Me:
for thou perceivest not the things that be of God, but Chose that be of
men.” That was the severest thing that Christ ever said to one of His own.
What a solemn warning against being influenced by the natural affections
of our friends!
Subtle as was the temptation presented to Moses. if he had remembered
the Source of his strength, as well as his office, he would not have yielded
to it. “Hearken now unto my counsel” said Jethro (v. 19). But that was the
very thing which Moses had no business to do. “So shall it be easier for
thyself” (v. 22) pleaded the tempter. But was not God’s grace sufficient! It
is sad to see the effect which this specious suggestion had upon Moses. In
Numbers 11 we find that Moses complained to the Lord — “I am not able
to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me” (v. 14). Does
some servant of God reading these lines feel much the same today? Then
let him remember that he is not called upon to bear any people alone. Has
not God said,
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee, be not dismayed for I am thy
God, I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold
thee with the right hand of My righteousness” (

Isaiah 41:10)!
And if the burden is “too heavy” for thee, remember that it is written,
“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee”

Psalm 55:22).
“It is here the servant of Christ constantly fails; and the failure is all the
more dangerous because it wears the appearance of humility. It seems like
distrust of one’s self, and deep lowliness of spirit, to shrink from heavy
responsibility; but all we need to enquire is, Has God imposed that
responsibility? If so, He will assuredly be with me in sustaining it; and
having Him with me, I can sustain anything. With Him, the weight of a
mountain is nothing; without Him, the weight of a feather is overwhelming..270
It is a totally different thing if a man, in the vanity of his mind, thrust
himself forward and take a burden upon his shoulder which God never
intended him to bear, and therefore never fitted him to bear it; we may then
surely expect to see him crushed beneath the weight, but if God lays it
upon him, He will qualify and strengthen him to carry it.
“It is never the fruit of humility to depart from a ‘Divinely-appointed’
post. On the contrary, the deepest humility will express
itself by remaining there in simple dependence upon God. It is a
sure evidence of being occupied about self when we shrink from
service on the ground of inability. God does not call us unto service
on the ground of our ability, but of His own: hence, unless, I am
filled with thoughts about myself, or with positive distrust of Him. I
need not relinquish any position of service or testimony because of
the heavy responsibilities attaching thereto. All power belongs to
God, and it is quite the snide whether that power acts through one
agent or through seventy — the power is still the same: but if one
agent refuse the dignity, it is only so much the worse for him. God
will not force people to abide in a place of honor if they cannot
trust Him to sustain them there” (C.H.M.)
Strikingly was this seen in the sequel. Moses complained to God of the
burden, and the Lord rendered it; but in the removal went the high honor
of being called to carry it alone.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto Me seventy men of
the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the
people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle
of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will
come down and talk with thee there; and I will take of the spirit
which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear
the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself
alone” (

Numbers 11:16, 17).
Nothing was really gained. No fresh power was introduce; it was sin-ply a
distribution of the “spirit” which had rested on one now being placed on
seventy! Man cannot improve upon God’s appointments. If he persists in
acting according to the dictates of ‘common sense’ nothing will be gained,
and much will be lost.
A word should be said upon the closing verse of our chapter:.271
“And Moses let his father-in-law depart; and he went his way into
his own land” (v. 27).
This receives amplification in Numbers 10:
“And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite.
Moses’ father-in-law, We are journeying unto the place of which
the Lord said, I will give it you; come thou with us and we will do
thee good: for the Lord had spoken good concerning Israel. And he
said unto him, I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and
to my kindred” (vv.

How this revealed the heart of Jethro (here called Hobab). The ties of
nature counted more with him than the blessings of Jehovah. He preferred
his “own land” to the wilderness, and his own “kindred” to the people of
God, He walked by sight, not faith; he had no respect unto “the
recompense of the reward” of the future, but preferred the things of time
and earth. How ill-fitted was such a one to counsel the servant of God!
In concluding this article we would point out how that Jethro’s departure
from Moses in no wise mars the typical picture presented in the earlier part
of this chapter; rather does it give completeness to it. Jethro returned to his
own land and kindred because he had no heart for the Lord and his people.
A similar tragedy will be witnessed at the end of the Millennium. In Psalm
18 we read,
“Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and Thou
hast made me the head of the heathen (Gentiles); a people whom I
have not known shall serve Me. As soon as they hear of Me they
shall obey Me; the strangers shall yield feigned obedience unto Me.
The strangers (Gentiles) shall fade away” (vv.

This will find its fulfillment in the Millennium. Many Gentiles will turn to
the Lord, but their hearts are not won by Him. At the end, when Satan is
released, they will quickly flock to his banner (see

Revelation 20:7-9).
May the Lord grant us stedfastness of heart, and keep us from being drawn
away by the things of time and sense..272

“In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out
of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of
Sinai. For they were departed from Reohidim, and were come to
the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there
Israel camped before the mount” (vv. 1, 2).
Thus was fulfilled God’s promise to Moses. When he appeared to him at
the burning bush He had declared.
“Certainly I will he with thee: and this shall be a token unto thee,
that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out
of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” (

Many difficulties had stood in the way, but they had disappeared before the
irresistible execution of God’s counsels like the dew before the morning
sun. Israel had been made willing to depart from Egypt, and their masters
had been glad to let them go. The waters of the Red Sea had parted
asunder so that the covenant-people went through dry-shod. The
wilderness of Etham had been crossed so too had the Wilderness of Sin,
and though two whole months had passed since they left the land of
Pharaoh, not an Israelite had perished with hunger or died through
sickness. “Ye shall serve God upon this mountain” (

3:12), and they did.
No word of God can fail. No matter how the enemy may rage, “the counsel
of the Lord shall stand” (

Proverbs 19:21). “In the third month… the
selfsame day…. Israel camped before the mount.” The time-mark here is
important. It supplies a key to what follows. Three is ever the number of
manifestation. Jehovah was now to give His people a wondrous
manifestation of Himself. Previously, they had seen His judgments upon
Egypt; they had beheld His power displayed at the Red Sea, they had
witnessed His guiding-hand in the pillar of Cloud and Fire; they had
experienced His mercies in the providing of the manna and the giving of.273
water from the smitten rock: but they were now to behold His exalted
majesty as suitably was this displayed from the mount.
“And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto Him out
of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob,
and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the
Egyptians and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you
unto Myself. Now, therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and
keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me
above all people, for all the earth is Mine” (vv. 3-5).
These verses have suffered much from the hards of certain commnentators.
Most erroneous conclusions have been drawn from them. Men well versed
in the Scriptures have strangely overlooked other passages in the previous
chapters which plainly contradict their assertions. One respected expositor
begins his remarks on Exodus 19 and 20 as follows: — “A new
dispensation is inaugurated in these chapters. Up to the close of chapter
18, as before indicated, grace reigned, and hence characterized all God’s
dealing with His people, but from this point they were put, with their own
consent, under the rigid requirements of law.” In this he is followed by
others of the school to which he belongs. A wide influence has been
exerted by this school, and today thousands blindly accept the dicta of its
leaders as though they were infallible. Indeed, one will at once court
suspicion of his orthodoxy if he dares to challenge their ex cathedra
utterances. Nevertheless, it is our bounden duty to test by the Word all that
men have to say upon it.
So far as our own light goes, we know of nothing in Scripture which
warrants the assertion that “a new dispensation” began when the children
of Israel reached Sinai.

John 1:17 is often appealed to in proof: — “The
law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” But
this verse is far from proving what is assumed. The Lord does not here say
that a “new dispensation began” with the giving of the law: that is what
men have read into it. If “the law was given by Moses” signifies that the
Jewish dispensation began at that point, then the second clause — “but
grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” — must mean that the Christian
dispensation began with the coming of Jesus Christ. But it did not. The
Christian dispensation did not begin, and could not, till after the death of
our Savior.

John 1:17 contrasts the ministries of Moses and Jesus
When, then, did the Mosaic dispensation begin? If not when Israel reached
Sinai, at what other point in their history? Without any hesitation we
answer, on the Passover night; it was front that night their national history
is to be dated, and that the Mosaic dispensation commenced. Previous to
that night they had no existence as a nation, no corporate existence; they
were a disorganized crowd of slaves. But that night everything was
changed for them. Then, for the first time. were they termed an “assembly”

Exodus 12:6). That the Passover marked not only the beginning of
their national existence but also the commencement of the Mosaic
dispensation, is abundantly clear from the fact that their calendar was then
changed by Divine order (

Exodus 12:2)!
The new dispensation (the Mosaic) began by the establishment of a new
relationship between Jehovah and His people. They were now His
redeemed. As we have shown in a previous paper, redemption is two-fold
— by purchase and by power. Israel were purchased to God by the blood
of the “lamb,” they were delivered from their enemies by His power at the
Red Sea. If, as some able expositors contend, the crossing of the Red Sea
was three days after the Passover night, then the analogy between the
beginning of the Mosaic dispensation and the beginning of the Christian
dispensation is perfect. In one sense the Christ-dispensation began at the
death of Christ, with the “rending of the veil”; in another sense, it began
three days later, at His resurrection from the dead.
The leaders of the “school” referred to above teach that, prior to Sinai,
God dealt with Israel in pure grace, but that at Sinai they, for the first time,
came under law. Such a mistake is even more excuseless than the statement
that a “new dispensation” began then. Israel were under law before they
reached the Mount of God. Listen to the testimony of

Exodus 15:25-
“And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree,
which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made
sweet; there He made for them a statute and an ordinance and there
He proved them. And He said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the
voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His
sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His
statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have
brought upon the Egyptians.”.275
Surely this is plain enough; reference is made to both God’s
“commandments” and His “statutes.” But lest the quibble be raised that this
was prospective, i. e., in view of the Law which He was shortly to give
them, we beg the reader to weigh carefully our next reference. In

Exodus 16:4 we read that God said, “Behold, I will rain bread from
heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every
day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in My law, or no.” The
meaning of this is explained in v. 23, “This is that which the Lord had said,
Tomorrow is the rest of the Holy Sabbath unto the Lord; bake that which
ye will bake today and seethe that ye wilt seethe: and that which remaineth
over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.” Israel’s response to this
is given in v. 27 “And it came to pass, that there went out some of the
people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.” Now mark
attentively the next verse, “And the Lord said unto Moses, How long
refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?” Certainly this was not
“prospective.” It was retrospective. It furnishes indubitable proof that
Israel were under law before they reached Sinai.
That there was a marked change in Jehovah’s dealings with Israel after
Sinai cannot be denied, and we suppose it is from this premise that the
erroneous conclusion has been drawn that a new dispensation then began.
Before Sinai was reached, when Israel “murmured,” God bore with them in
greatest long-sufferance, but after Sinai their murmurings were visited with
summary chastisements. How then, is this to be explained? If it was not the
giving of commandments and statutes which introduced the change in
God’s dealings with His people, what was it? We answer, it was because of
the covenant which Israel there solemnly entered into. Prior to Sinai, God
dealt with Israel on the ground of the Abrahamic covenant; but from Sinai
onwards, He dealt with them nationally, according to the terms of the
Sinaiatic covenant. As this is of vital importance to the understanding of
the later Scriptures we must dwell upon it in a little more detail.
Genesis 15 records the covenant which God made with Abraham,
confirmed later to Isaac and Jacob We cannot now attempt an exposition
of the second half of Genesis 15, though it is of deep importance. Briefly
the facts are these In verse 6 we read for the first time of Ahraham’s
justification. Following this, the Lord bids Abraham prepare Him a
sacrifice. This Abraham does, dividing each animal “in the midst” Then a
deep sleep fell upon Abraham, and while asleep, God promised to bring His
descendants, of the fourth generation, into Canaan. Then we read of the.276
Shekinah-glory passing between the pieces of Abraham’s sacrifices — an
action which symbolically signified the making of a covenant, see

Jeremiah 34:18, 19. Following which, we are told,
“In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abraham saying,
Unto thy seed have I given this land” (

Genesis 15:18).
Three things should be carefully noted.
First, there was only one party to this covenant — Jehovah himself.
Abraham was asleep. Its fulfillment therefore, turned alone on the
Divine faithfulness. There were no conditions attached to it which man
had to meet.
Second, it was based upon a sacrifice. Third, it was a covenant of pure
grace. Mark “unto thy seed have I given this land.” Contrast from this

Genesis 13:15. “For all the land which thou seest to thee will I give
it!” But now a sacrifice had been offered, blood had been shed, the
purchase-price had been paid, a solemn covenant had been made; hence
the change from “I will” to “I have.”
Now it is of the very first moment to observe that God’s deliverance of
Israel from Egypt was on the ground of His covenant with Abraham. Proof
of this is furnished in

Exodus 2:24 where we read
“And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant
with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.”
Again, in

6:3, 4, we find God reminding Moses of this:
“And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob, by the
name of God Almighty, but by My name Jehovah was I not known
to them, And I have also established My covenant with them to
give them the land of Cantaan, the land of their pilgrimage wherein
they were strangers.”
It was on the ground of this covenant that the Lord dealt with Israel up to
the time they reached Sinai! The last thing recorded before Israel reached
Sinai was the giving of water from the smitten rock, and mark how the
Psalmist refers to this,.277
“He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out: they ran in the
dry places like a river. For He remembered His holy promise to
Abraham His servant” (

Psalm 105:41,42).
But at Sinai Jehovah’s relationship to Israel was placed upon a different

Exodus 19:5 we find God, from the Mount, bidding Moses say unto
His people, “Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My
covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people; for
all the earth is Mine; and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an
holy nation.” There has been much confusion upon this and much
consequent error. The Lord was not here referring to His covenant with
Abraham (that patriarch is not mentioned at all in the chapter). This is
made unmistakably clear from His words, “If ye will obey My voice indeed
and keep My covenant.” There was nothing about God’s covenant with
Abraham that Israel could “keep.” There were no conditions attached to it,
no stipulations, no provisos. It was unconditional so far as Abraham and
his descendants were concerned. But here at Sinai, God proposed to make
another covenant, a covenant, to which there should be two parties —
Himself and Israel; a covenant of works, a covenant whch Israel must
“keep” if they were to enjoy the conditional blessings attached to it.
What were the terms of the Siniatic covenant, and what were the
conditions and blessings attached to it? The answer to these questions is
plainly stated in the Scriptures. In

Exodus 34:27, 28, we read,
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after
the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with
Israel. And he was there (on the Mount) with the Lord forty days
and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he
wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, THE TEN
Forty years later, Moses reminded Israel,
“And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded
you to perform, ten commandments; and He wrote them upon two
tables of stone” (

Deuteronomy 4:13)..278
Returning to Exodus 19, we learn there that in response to Jehovah’s
proposal to enter into a legal covenant with them, Israel unanimously and
heartily accepted the same:
“All the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath
spoken we will do” (v. 8).
These words were repeated by the people after Moses had made known to
them the details of the covenant,
“And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord,
and all the judgments; and all the people answered with one voice,
and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do”

Then the covenant was solemnly ratified by blood. See

Exodus 24:4-8.
Now it was on the ground of this Siniatic covenant, not on the ground of
the Abrahamic, that Israel entered Canaan in the days of Joshua; and it was
on the ground of this Siniatic covenant that God dealt with Israel during
their occupancy of the land. This was made apparent right from the
beginning. As soon as it became evident that there was an Israelite who
had broken the eighth commandment, the Lord declared,
“Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant
which I commanded them; for they have even taken of the accursed
thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put
it even among their own stuff… And it shall be that he that is taken
with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he
hath; because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and
because he hath wrought wickedness in Israel” (

Joshua 7:11,
Accordingly we find that Achan and all his family were stoned to death. At
a later date, we read,
“And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned
and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following
other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased
not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn ways. And the
anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and He said, Because that
this people hath transgressed My covenant which I commanded.279
their fathers, and have not hearkened unto My voice; I also will not
henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which
Joshua left when he died” (

Judges 2:19, 21).
The rending of the kingdom was because Solomon failed to keep this
covenant (

1 Kings 11:11). Throughout Israel’s occultation of Canaan,
God dealt with them on the ground of the Siniatic covenant. See Jeremiah
A few words upon the circumstances attending the Siniatic covenant must
suffice. In verses 10 and 11 we read, “And the Lord said unto Moses, “Go
unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash
their clothes, and be ready against the third day; for the third day the Lord
will come down in the night of all the people upon Mount Sinai.” Here we
have emphasized what was noted upon the opening verse of the chapter. It
was in the third month when the children of Israel were gone forth out of
the land of Egypt that they arrived at Sinai; and it was on the third day of
this month (twice repeated) that the Lord declared He would “come down
in the sight of His people.” Clearly, then, what we have here is a
manifestation of the Lord Himself. cf.

Deuteronomy 5:24. And
everything that followed was in perfect keeping with that fact bearing in
mind the typical character of that Dispensation.
The people were to “sanctify” themselves, even to the point of washing
their clothes. How plainly this intimated that God would draw nigh only to
a people who were clean — that it is sin which separates the Creator from
His creatures.
“And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying,
Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount or touch
the border of it; whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put
to death” (v. 12).
Much has been made of this in the endeavor to prove that a “new
dispensation” had begun, that God was no longer dealing with Israel in
grace. But it is only another example of men reading their own pre-conceived
ideas into Scripture. Moreover, it is, in this instance, to ignore
what has gone before. Months earlier when Jehovah had appeared to
Moses at the burning bush and Moses had said, “I will now turn aside, and
see this great sight.” God at once called to him and said,.280
“draw not nigh hither put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the
place whereon thou standest is holy ground” (

“And it came to pass on the third day in the morning that there
were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud settled upon the
mount, and the voice of the trumphet exceeding loud; so that all the
people that was in the camp trembled” (v. 16).
This, too, has been twisted to mean something quite different from its
obvious import. These were the awe-inspiring attendants of the awful
majesty of Jehovah, upon whose face none could look and live. Were these
phenomena intended to show that Israel had done wrong in entering into
this covenant? Or were they designed to manifest the dignity, the holiness,
the greatness of the One with whom they were making the covenant?
Surely the latter. If proof of this be required it is furnished in

“And Moses said unto the people, “Fear not, for God has come to
prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces that ye sin
and cf.

Deuteronomy 5:24. Let it not be forgotten that in heaven itself
the apocalytic seer is given to behold a Throne out of which “proceeded
lightnings and thunderings and voices” (

Revelation 4:5) — the identical
things witnessed on Sinai:
There is a passage in Deuteronomy which should forever settle the
question as to whether or not Israel acted wisely in entering into the
Siniatic covenant, as to whether they did right or wrong in promising to do
all that the lord had said, and as to whether God was pleased or displeased
with them. This passage is found in the fifth chapter of that book. Moses is
there reviewing what took place at Sinai. He declares,
“These words, the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount
out of the midst of the fire of the cloud, and of the thick darkness,
with a great voice and He added no more. And He wrote them on
two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.” (v. 22).
He then reminds Israel of the response which they made,
“And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of
the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire), that ye came
near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders: and.281
ye said, Behold, the lord our God hath showed us His glory and His
greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire;
we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.
Now therefore, why should we die? Per this great fire will consume
us; if we hear the voice of the lord our God any more, then shall we
die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the
living God speaking out of the midst of the fire as we have, and
live? Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say;
and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto
thee; and we will hear it and do it” (vv. 23, 27).
And then in v. 28 we are told, “And the Lord heard the voice of your
words, when ye spake unto me; and the Lord said unto me, I have heard
the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto you;
they have well said all that they have spoken.” Nothing could be plainer
than this. God was not displeased with Israel for their avowal of allegiance,
any more than he was displeased with Joshua when he said, “But as for me
and my house, we will serve the Lord” (

Joshua 24:15).
Finally, it must not be forgotten that Exodus 24 completes what is before
us in Exodus 19. There we read of the ratification, of the covenant. There
we are told,
“And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of
the people, and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do,
and be obedient” (

Now what is of special importance to note is the words which immediately
follow, “And Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and
said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with
you concerning all these words.” The application of the blood to the people
plainly signified that God would deal graciously with them. What, then,
was the outstanding lesson which Jehovah taught Israel at Sinai? This, that
His grace towards them would henceforth “reign through righteousness”

Romans 5:21).
In closing, let us make practical application of what has been before us.
Such a view of God’s majesty as Israel were favored with at Sinai is the
crying need of our day. The eye of faith needs to see Him not only as our
“Father,” as “The God of all grace,” but also as the “High and lofty One.282
that inhabiteth eternity” (

Isaiah 57:15), as the “Great and Dreadful
God” (

Daniel 9:4), as the One who has said,
“Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as
the small dust of the balance; behold, He taketh up the isles as a
very little thing…. all nations before Him are as nothing; and they
are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity” (

Isaiah 40:15,
read the whole of Isaiah 40. If we beheld Him thus, then should we work
out our own salvation with “fear and trembling.” Let it not be forgotten
that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament is
one and the same; He is a God into whose hands it is a fearful thing to fall.
May His Holy Spirit so reveal Him to us, as the One to be reverenced,
obeyed and worshipped..283

In His Olivet discourse the Lord Jesus prophesied that,
“Because iniquity (Greek, lawlessness) shall abound, the love of
many shall wax cold.” (

Matthew 24:12).
Surely no annointed eye can fail to see that this prediction is now” being
fulfilled. Lawlessness abounds on every side. Men are bent on pleasing
themselves. Authority is openly flouted. Discipline is becoming a thing of
the past. Parental control is rarely exercised. Marriage has, for the most
part, degenerated into a thing of convenience. Nations regard their solemn
treaties as ‘scraps of paper.’ In the U.S.A. the 18th Amendment is despised
on every side. Yes, “lawlessness” is abounding. And God’s own people
have not escaped the chilling effects of this; the love of many of them has
waxed cold.
The supreme test of love is the desire and effort to please the one loved,
and this measured by conformity to his known wishes. Love to God is
expressed by obedience to His will. Only One has perfectly exemplified
this, and of Him it is written,
“I will delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within
My heart.” (

Psalm 40:8).
But we ought so to walk even as He walked (

1 John 2:6). Simple but
searching is that word of His,
“He that hath My commandments and keepeth them he it Is that
loveth Me” (

John 14:21).
And again it is written,
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love
God, and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that.284
we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not
grievious.” (

1 John 5:2-3).
The “waning” of love, then, means departing from, failing to keep, God’s
The prophecy of Christ in

Matthew 24:12 does not stand alone. In the
book of Jude, that treats of conditions which are to obtain in the closing
days of the history of Christendom, apostates are described as those who
“despise dominion, and spake evil of dignities” (v. 8). The despising of
dominion is the essence of lawlessness. Those latter-day apostates are also
referred to in the second Epistle of Peter:
“While they promise them liberty they themselves are the slaves of
corruption” (

Their slogan is, emancipation from authority, deliverance from all law.
While we cannot but deplore the lawlessness which abounds in the world
and the effect which it is having on many who bear the name of Christ, far
more sad and solemn is it to hear their teachers giving out that which can
only foster and further this evil spirit. Reputable Bible teachers are
declaring that the Law of God is not binding on men today least of all on
Christians. They say that the Law was only for Israel. They insist that this
is the Dispensation of Grace, and that Law is the enemy of Grace. They
affirm that when we become members of the new creation, all the
responsibilities attaching to the old creation automatically cease. They
argue that because a Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, he needs no
law. They brand as legalists the few who press the claims of God’s Law
upon the consciences of men. They regard with scornful pity men mightily
used of God in the past who taught that the Law of God is a rule of life, a
standard for moral conduct.
Now it is of first importance that we obtain a Scriptural view of the nature
of the Law. The very fact that it is the law of God should at once show us
that it cannot contain anything inimical to man’s welfare. Like everything
else that God has given, the Law is an expression of His love, a
manifestation of His mercy, a provision of His grace. The Law of the Lord
was Christ’s delight (

Psalm 1:2); so also was it the apostle Paul’s

Romans 7:22). In Romans 7, the Holy Spirit has expressly affirmed,
“Wherefore the Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and
good” (v. 12); yea more, He has declared “The Law is spiritual” (v. 15)..285
How terrible then for men to despise that Law and speak evil of it! What
state of sour must they be in who wish to be delivered from it!
Above, we have said that the Law expressed God’s love. This comes out
clearly in Deuteronomy 33:
“The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He
shined forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of
saints: from His right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, He
LOVED the people.” (

vv. 2-3).
Love is the fulfilling of the law from the human side and love provided the
Law from the Divine side. What, then, ought to be our response to such a
Law? Surely that of David:
“O how love I Thy Law: it is my meditation all the day”

Psalm 119:97).
While Divine love provided the Law, the prime purpose of God in giving it
was that His authority should be maintained. Israel must be brought to see
that they were under His government. And this of necessity. The creature
must be made to recognize the rights of his Creator. No sooner did the
Lord God place man in the Garden which He had planted for him, than He
commanded him — note how in Genesis 3 God pressed this both upon Eve
and Adam (vv. 11, 17). The very ground of the sentence passed upon them
was that they had repudiated His creatorial claims.
Now what we have in Exodus 19 and 20 is the enforcement of God’s
claims upon double one. They belonged to Him not Israel. His claim upon
them was not only because He had made them but also because He had
purchased them: they were not only His creatures, but they were also His
redeemed people. It was this second relationship which is now pressed
upon them both in Exodus 19 and 20. In the former He says,
“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you
on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself. Now therefore, if
ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall
be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is
Mine” (vv.

In the latter, He prefaces the Ten Commandments with the statement.286
“I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of
Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (v. 2).
But it should be carefully noted that in Exodus 20 He presses both of His
claims upon Israel. In the first verse it is, “And God (the Creator) spake all
these words”; while in v. 2, He reminds them, that as the Lord their God
He had brought them out of the land of Egypt.
Now what we would particularly emphasize here, is the fact that
redemption does not cancel the claims which God has upon men as His
creatures. Instead, these claims are still enforced, but, the new relationship
into which redemption introduces, imposes additional responsibilities, or,
more accurately speaking, supplies an additional motive for recognizing
and meeting God’s claims upon us. In the previous chapters we have
witnessed God dealing in marvellous grace with Israel, bearing with them
in tender patience, supplying their every need. But now the point has been
reached when they must be taught that God has righteous claims upon
them, that His Throne must be established over them, that His authority
must be owned, that. His will is supreme and must be made the regulator
of their lives, and that as His redeemed they were under the deepest
possible obligations to fear, obey, and serve Him. Notice how Moses
pressed this upon Israel near the close of his life:
“The Lord thy God redeemed thee, therefore I command thee this
thing today” (

Deuteronomy 15:15).
“The laws which God gave unto Israel fall into three classes: the moral, the
ceremonial and the civil. The people of Israel may be considered three
First, as rational creatures, depending upon God, as the Supreme Cause,
both in a moral and natural sense. And thus the law of the decalogue was
given them; which, as to its substance is one and the same with the law of
nature (the work of which is written on man’s heart. A.W.P.) binding man
as such.
Second. as the Church of the Old Testament, who expected the promised
Messiah, and happy times when He should make every thing perfect. And
in that character they received the ceremonial law, which really shewed the
Messiah was not yet come, and had not perfected all things by His
satisfaction (sacrifice), but that He would come and make all things new..287
Third, as a peculiar people, who had a policy of government suited to their
genius and disposition in the land of Canaan: a republic constituted not so
much according to those forms which philosophors bare delineated, but
which wins in a peculiar manner, a theocracy as Josephus significantly calls
it, God Himself holding the reins of government therein —

Judges 8:23.
Under this view God prescribed their political laws” (Dr. Herman Witsius,
1680 — a deeply-taught theologian from whom our moderns might learn
We heartily concur with the remarks of the late Mr. D. L. Moody in
“Weighed and Wanting” — “The commandments of God given to Moses
in the mount at Horeb are as binding today as ever they have been since the
time when they were proclaimed in the hearing of the people. The Jews
said the Law was not given in Palestine (which belonged to Israel), but in
the wilderness, because the Law was for all nations.” We believe that the
Ten Commandments are binding on all men, and especially upon
Christians, and that for the following reasons: —
First, because it is both right and meet that the great Creator’s authority
should be proclaimed by Him and acknowledged by His creatures. This
was the demand which He made upon Adam, and every sober mind will
acknowledge it was a righteous one. Even the unfallen angels are beneath a
regime of law: of them it is said,
“Bless the Lord ye His angels that excel in strength, that do His
commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word” (

Only a spirit of lawlessness can inveigh against the statement that every
human creature is responsible to keep the law of God.
Second, because the Ten Commandments have never been repealed. The
very fact that they were written by the finger of God Himself, written not
upon parchment, but on tables of stone, argues conclusively their
permanent nature. If it was contrary to the mind of God that those living
during the Christian dispensation should regard the Ten Commandments as
binding upon them surely He would have said so in plain language. But the
New Testament will be searched in vain for a single word which announces
their cancellation.
Third, because we need them. Has human nature so improved, is man so
much better than he was three thousand years ago, that he no longer stands.288
in need of the Divine Law? If the covenant people of old required to have
such statutes are the Gentiles today any less self-sufficient? Are men now
so little prone to idolatry that they need not the Divine command “Thou
shall have no other gods before Me? Has the enmity of the carnal mind
been so refined that it is no longer timely to say “Thou shalt not take the
name of the Lord thy God in vain?” Are the children of this twentieth
century A.D. so devoted to their parents and so marked by the spirit of
obedience that it is superfluous to say to them “Honor thy father and thy
mother?” Is human life now held in such reverence that it is idle to say
“Thou shall not kill?” Has the marriage-relationship come to be so sacredly
regarded that “Thou shall not commit adultery” is an impertinance? And is
there now so much honesty in the world that it is a waste of breath to
remind our fellows that God says “Thou shalt not steal?” Rather is it not
true that in the light of present-day conditions the Ten commandments
need to be thundered forth from every pulpit in the land?
Fourth, because the Lord Jesus Christ Himself respected them.

Galatians 4:4 tells us that He was, “made under the Law.” On entering
this world He declared
“I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy Law is within My
heart.” (

Psalm 40:8),
and the record of His earthly life fully bears this out. When the ruler asked
Him, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He answered, “Thou knowest
the commandments — ‘Do not commit adultery,’” etc. Whatever may have
been our Lord’s reason for returning such a reply, one thing is clear — He
honored the holy Law of God! When the lawyer tempted Him by asking.
“Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (

Matthew 22:36),
His answer once more shows Him maintaining the authority of God’s Law.
Fift1h, because of our Lord’s teaching on the subject. In the Sermon on
the Mount we find Him saying,
“Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I
am not come to destroy, but to fulfill For verily I say unto you till
heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass
from the Law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break
one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall
be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall.289
do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of
heaven” (

Matthew 5:17-19).
What could be clearer than this? So far from affirming that He had come to
cancel the Law, He declared that He would fulfill it. Yea, more, He insisted
that the Law shall remain, and remain intact so long as the earth remained.
His words that not “one jot or tittle of the Law should pass away (become
obsolete) proves conclusively that the fourth commandment (on the
Sabbath) would remain in force equally with the other nine! Finally, He
solemnly warns us that the one who should teach men to break one of
these commandments, shall suffer loss in a coming day.
Sixth, because of the teaching of the New Testament Epistles. In them we
find the Ten Commandments recorded and enforced. At the close of
Romans 3, where the apostle treats of Justification, he raises the question,
“Do we then make void the Law through faith?” and the emphatic answer
is “God forbid: yea, we establish the Law.” In the same Epistle he declares
again after quoting five of the Commandments. “Love is the fulfilling of the
Law” (

13:10), and love could not “fulfill” the Law if it had been
abrogated. Once more, in

1 Corinthians 9:21, Paul says, “Being not
without Law to God, but under the Law to Christ.”
Seventh, because God has threatened to chastise those Christians who
disregard His Law. In the 89th Psalm there is a striking prophetic passage
which brings this out plainly. In vv.

27-29 God declares of Christ,
“I will make Him My Firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.
My mercy will I keep for Him for evermore, and My covenant shall
stand fast with Him. His seed also will I make to endure forever,
and His throne as the days of heaven.”
And then God solemnly adds. “if His children forsake My Law, and walk
not in My Judgments; If they break My statutes, and keep not My
commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their
iniquity with stripes.” The writer often wonders how much of the
afflictions that so many Christians are now groaning under are explained by
this scripture!
The Ten Commandments have been rightly designated the moral law,
inasmuch as they enunciate a rule or standard for human conduct. Their
application is race wide. Even Mr. Darby admitted in his Synopsis (Vol. 1,
p. 86), “such is the character of the Law, a rule sent out to man, taken in.290
its largest character.” (italics ours). While dissecting from the expression
“moral law,” and while denying that the Law was a “rule of life,” for the
believer, nevertheless Mr. Darby did not go to the lengths of
Antinomianism to which some of his followers have gone in their
teachings. In Vol. 10 of his “Collected writings” he said,” If I make of the
law a moral law (including therein the principle of the New Testament and
all morality in heart and life), to say a Christian is (delivered from it is
nonsense, or utter monstrous wickedness: certainly it is not Christianity.
Conformity to the Divine will, and that as obedience to commandments is
alike the duty of the renewed mind. I say obedience to commandments.
Some are afraid of the word, as if it would weaken love, and the idea of a
new creation; Scripture is not. Obedience, and keeping the commandments
of one we love, is the proof of that love, and the delight of the new
nature.” As to Mr. Darby’s consistency in arguing that the believer
nevertheless is not under the Law in any sense, we leave the reader to
It is not our intention to refute the objections which have been made
against the truth that the Ten Commandments are not binding on men
today, and that believers especially are in no sense under the Law. We have
dealt with these, and expounded the scriptures which are supposed to
support the objections, in our booklet on “The Saint and the Law.” Suffice
it now to point out that in the Word a sharp distinction is drawn between
“the law of Moses” and “The Law of God:” the former was for Israel only;
the latter is for all men. The Lord grant that writer and reader may be able
to truthfully say with the Apostle Paul. “I delight in the Law of God after
the inward man.” (

Romans 7:22); and again,
“So then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with the
flesh the law of sin” (

Romans 7:25)..291

Much confusion prevails today among those who speak of “The law.” This
is a term which needs to be carefully defined. In the New Testament there
are three expressions used which require to be definitely distinguished.
First, there is “The law of God” (

Romans 7:22, 25, etc.).
Second, there is “The law of Moses” (

John 7:2. Acts 13: 39, 15:5,
Third, there is “the law of Christ” (

Galatians 6:2)
Now these three expressions are by no means synonymous, and it is not
until we learn to distinguish between them, that we can hope to arrive at
any clear understanding on the subject of “The law.”
The “law of God” expresses the mind of the Creator, and is binding upon
all rational creatures. It is God’s unchanging moral standard for regulating
the conduct of all men. In some places the “law of God” may refer to the
whole revealed will of God, but usually it has reference to the Ten
Commandments, and it is in this restricted sense we shall here use the term.
The Law was impressed on man’s moral nature from the beginning, and
though now fallen, he still shows the work of it written on his heart. This
Law has never been repealed, and, in the very nature of things, cannot be.
For God to abrogate the moral law would be to plunge the whole universe
into anarchy. Obedience to the law of God is man’s first duty. This is why
the first complaint that Jehovah made against Israel after they left Egypt
“How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?”

Exodus 16:2, 27).
That is why the first statutes which God gave to Israel after their
redemption were the Ten Commandments, i. e., the moral law. That is why.292
in the first discourse of Christ recorded in the New Testament, He
“Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, of the Prophets: I
am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (

Matthew 5:17),
and then proceeded to expound and enforce the moral law. And that is why
in the first of the Epistles, the Holy Spirit has taught us at length the
relation of the Law to sinners and saints, in connection with salvation and
the subsequent walk of the saved: the word “law” occurs in Romans no
less than seventy-five times, though, of course, not every reference is to the
law of God. And that is why sinners (

Romans 3:19), and saints

James 2:12), shall be judged by this law.
The “law of Moses” is the entire system of legislation, judicial and
ceremonial. which Jehovah gave to Israel during the time they were in the
wilderness. The “law of Moses, as such, is binding upon none but
Israelites. The “law of Moses” has not been repealed, for it will be
enforced by Christ during the Millennium
“Out of Jerusalem shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the lord
from Jerusalem” (

Isaiah 2:3).
That the “law of Moses” is not binding on Gentiles is clear from Acts 15.
The “law of Christ” is God’s moral law in the hands of a Mediator. It is the
law that Christ Himself was “made under (

Galatians 4:4). It is the law
which was “in His heart” (

Psalm 40:8). It is the law which He came
“fulfill” (

Matthew 5:17). The “law of God” is now termed “the law of
Christ” as it relates to Christians. As creatures we are under bends to
“serve the law of God” (

Romans 7:25): as redeemed sinners we are
“bondslaves of Christ” (

Ephesians 6:6); and as such it is our bounden
duty to “serve the Lord Christ” (

Colossians 3:21). The relation between
these two appellations. “the law of God” and “the law of Christ,” is clearly
intimated in

1 Corinthians 9:21, where the apostle states that he was not
“without law to God,” for he was “under the law to Christ.” The meaning
of this is very simple. As a human creature, the Apostle was still under
obligations to obey the Moral Law of God, his Creator; but as a saved
man, he now belongs to Christ, the Mediator, by redemption. Christ had
purchased him: he was His, therefore was he under the “law of Christ.”
The “law of Christ.” then, is just the moral of law of God now in the hands
of the Mediator — of

Exodus 34:1 and what follows!.293
Should any one object against our definition of the distinction drawn
between God’s moral law and “The law of Moses” we request them to
attend closely to what follows. God took special pains to show us the clear
line of demarcation which He Himself has drawn between the two. The
Moral Law became incorporated in the Mosaic law, yet was it sharply
distinguished from it: —
First, In the first place, the Ten Commandments, and they alone, of all the
laws which God gave unto Israel, were promulgated by the voice of God.
amid the most solermn manifestations and tokens of the Divine presence.
Second, the Ten Commandments and they alone of all Jehovah’s statutes
to Israel, were written directly by the finger of God. written upon tables of
stone, and written thus to denote their lasting and imperishable nature.
Third, the Ten Commandments were distinguished from all the other laws
which had merely a local application to Israel by the fact that they alone
were laid up In the ark. A tabernacle was prepared by the special direction
of God, and within it an ark was placed, in which the two tables of stone
were deposited. The ark, formed of the most durable wood, was overlaid
with gold within and without. Over it was placed the mercy seat, which
became the throne of Jehovah in the midst of His redeemed people. Not
until the tabernacle had been erected and the Law placed in the ark, did
Jehovah take up His abode in Israel’s midst. Thus did the Lord signify to
Israel that the Moral Law was the basis of all His governmental dealings
with them!
It is therefore clear beyond room for doubt that the Ten Commandments
are to be sharply distinguished from the “law of Moses.” The “law of
Moses,” excepting the Moral Law incorporated therein, was binding upon
none but Israelites or Gentile proselytes.
But the “Law of God,” unlike the Mosaic, is binding upon all men. Once
this distinction is perceived, many minor difficulties are cleared up. For
example: someone says, If we are to keep the Sabbath-day holy, as Israel
did, why must we not observe the ether “sabbaths” — the Sabbatic year,
for instance? The answer is, Because the Moral Law alone is hireling upon
Gentiles and Christians. But why, it may be asked, does not the death-penalty
attached to the desecration of the Sabbath day (

Exodus 31:14.
etc.) still obtain? The answer is, Because though that was a part of the
Mosaic law, it was not a part of the Moral Law, i. e., it was not inscribed.294
on the tables of stone: therefore it concerned none but Israelites. Let us
now consider separately, but briefly, each of the Ten Commandments.
The order of the Commandments is most significant. The first four concern
human responsibility Godwards; the last five our obligations manwards:
while the fifth suitably bridges the two, for in a certain sense parents
occupy to their children the place of God. We may also add that the
substance of each commandment is in perfect keeping with its numerical
place in the Decalogue. One stands for unity and supremacy so in the first
commandment the absolute sovereignty and pre-eminency of the Creator is
insisted upon. Since God is who He is, He will tolerate no competitor or
rival: His claims upon us are paramount.
1. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” (

Exodus 20:3).
If this first Commandment received the respect it demands, obedience to
the other nine would follow as a matter of course. “Thou shalt have no
other gods before Me” means, Thou shalt have no other object of worship:
thou shalt own no other authority as absolute: thou shalt make Me
supreme in your hearts and lives. How much this first commandment
contains! There are other “gods” besides idols of wood and stone. Money,
pleasure, fashion, fame, gluttony, and a score of other things which make
self supreme, usurp the rightful place of God in the affections and thoughts
of many. It is not without reason that even to the saints the exhortation is
given, “Little children keep yourselves from idols” (

1 John 5:21).
2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any
likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth
beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shall not bow
down thyself to them, nor serve them for I the Lord thy God am a
Jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children
unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and
showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My
commandments” (vv. 4-6).
Two is the number of witness, and in this second commandment man is
forbidden to attempt any visible representation of Deity, whether furnished
by the skill of the artist or the sculptor. The first commandment points out
the one only object of worship; the second tells us how He is to be
worshipped — in spirit and in truth, by faith and not by images which
appeal to the senses. The design of this commandment is to draw us away.295
from carnal conceptions of God, and to prevent His worship being
profaned by superstitious rites. A most fearful threat and a most gracious
promise are attached. Those who break this commandment shall bring
down on their children the righteous judgment of God; those who keep it
shall cause mercy to be extended to thousands of those who love God.
How this shows us the vital and solemn importance of parents teaching
their children the unadulterated truth concerning the Being and Character
of God!
3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for
the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain”
(v. 7).
God requires that the majesty of His holy name be hold inviolably sacred
by us. His name must be used neither with contempt, irreverently, or
needlessly. It is striking to observe that the first portion in the prayer the
Lord taught His disciples is: “Hallowed be Thy name”! The name of God is
to be held profoundly sacred In our ordinary speech and in our religious
devotions nothing must enter that in anywise lowers the sublime dignity
and the high holiness of that Name. The greatest sobriety and reverence is
called for. It needs to be pointed out that the only time the word
“reverend” is found in the Bible is in

Psalm 111:9 where we read, “Holy
and reverend is His name.” How irreverent then for preachers to style
themselves “reverend”!
4. “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou
labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the
Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son
nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy
cattle, nor the stranger, that is within thy gates; For in six days the
Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and
rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day
and hallowed it” (vv. 8-11).
There are two things enjoined here:
First, that man should work six days of the week. The same rule is plainly
enforced in the New Testament:
“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to
work with your own hands, as we commanded you” (

Thessalonians 4:11)..296
“For even when we were with you this we commanded you. that if
any would not WORK, neither should he eat” (

2 Thessalonians
The second thing commanded is, that on the seventh day all work must
cease. The Sabbath is to be a day of rest. Six days work: one day for rest.
The two must not be separated: work calls for rest; rest for work.
The next thing we would observe is that the Sabbath is not here termed
“the seventh day of the week.” Nor is it ever so styled in Scripture! So far
as the Old Testament is concerned any day which was used for rest and
which was followed by six days of work was a Sabbath! It is not correct,
then, to say that the “Sabbath” can only be observed on a Saturday. There
is not a word of Scripture to support such a statement.
In the next place, we emphatically deny that this Sabbath law has ever been
repealed. Those who teach it has, are guilty of the very thing which the
Savior so pointedly condemns in

Matthew 5:19. There are those who
allow that it is right and proper for us to keep the other nine
Commandments, but they insist that the Sabbath has passed away. We fully
believe that this very error was anticipated by Christ in

Matthew 5:19:
“Whosoever shall break one (not “any one”) of these least
commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least
in the kingdom of heaven.”

Hebrews 4:9 tells us that Sabbath-keeping remains: it has not become
The Sabbath (like all the other Commandments) was not simply for Israel
but for all men. The Lord Jesus distinctly declared “the Sabbath was made
for MAN” (

Mark 2:27) and no amount of quibbling can ever make this
mean Jews only. The Sabbath was made for man: for man to observe and
obey; also for man’s well-being, because his constitution needed it. One
day of rest each week is requisite for man’s physical, mental, and spiritual
“But we must not mistake the means for the end. We must not
think that the Sabbath is just, for the sake of being able to attend
meetings. There are some people who think they must spend the
whole day at meetings or private devotions. The result is that at
nightfall they are tired out and the day has brought them no rest..297
The number of church services attended ought to be measured by
the person’s ability to enjoy them and get good from them, without
being wearied. Attending meetings is not the only way to observe
the Sabbath. The Israelities were commanded to keep it in their
dwellings as well as in holy convocation. The home, that center of
so great influence over the life and character of the people, ought
to be made the scene of true Sabbath observance” (The late Mr. D.
L. Moody).
5. “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long
upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (v. 12).
The word “honor” means more than obey, though obedience is necessarily
included in it. To “honor” a parent is to give him the place of superiority,
to hold him or her in high esteem, to reverence him. The Scriptures abound
with illustrations of Divine blessing coming upon those who honored their
parents, and the Divine curse descending on those who honored them not.
The supreme example is that of the Lord Jesus. In

Luke 2:52, we read
“And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject
unto them.” On the Cross we see the Savior honoring His mother by
providing a home for her with His beloved disciple John.
It is indeed sad to see the almost universal disregard of this fifth
Commandment in our own day. It is one of the most arresting of the many
“signs of the times.” Eighteen hundred years ago it was foretold,
“In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers
of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemous,
disobedient to parents, unthankful unholy, without natural
affection” (

2 Timothy 3:1, 3).
Unquestionably, the blame for most of this lies upon the parents, who have
so neglected the moral and spiritual training of their children that (in
themselves) they are worthy of neither respect nor honor. It is to be noted
that the promise attached to the fulfillment of this Commandment as well
as the command itself is repeated in the New Testament — see

Ephesians 6:1, 3.
6. “Thou shalt not kill” (v. 13)..298
The simple force of this is, Thou shalt not murder. God Himself has
attached the death-penalty to murder. This comes out plainly in

9:5, 6,
“And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of
every beast will I require it. and at the hand of man; at the hand of
every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth
man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of
God made He man.”
This statute which God gave to Noah has never been rescinded. In

Matthew 5:21, 22, we have Christ’s exposition of this sixth
commandment: He goes deeper than the letter of the words and gives the
spirit of them, He shows that murder is not limited to the overt act, but
also pertains to the state of mind and the angry passion which prompts the
act — cf.,

1 John 3:15.
In this sixth Commandment, God emphasizes the sacredness of human life
and His own sovereignty over it — He alone has the right to say when it
shall end. The force of this was taught Israel in connection with the cities
of refuge. These provided an asylum from the avenger of blood. But they
were not to shelter murderers, but only those who had killed “unwittingly”
(R.V.). It was only those who had unintentionally taken the life of a fellow-creature
who could take refuge therein! And this, be it observed, was not
regarded as a light affair: even the man who had taken life “unawares” was
deprived of his liberty till the death of the high priest!
7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (v. 14).
This respects the marriage relationship which was instituted in Eden —
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall
cleave unto his wife: and they shall he one flesh” (

Genesis 2:24).
The marriage-relationship is paramount over every other human obligation.
A man is more responsible to love and care for his wife than he is to remain
in the home of his childhood and take care of his father and mother. It is
the highest and most sacred of human relations. It is in view of this
relationship that the seventh Commandment is given. “Thou shalt not
commit adultery” means, Thou shall not be unfaithful to the marriage
Now in Christ’s exposition of this Commandment we find Him filling it out
and giving us its deeper moaning:
“I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after
her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”

Matthew 5:28).
Unfaithfulness is not limited to the overt act, but reaches to the passions
behind the act. In Christ’s interpretation of the law of divorce He shows
that one thing only can dissolve the marriage relationship, and that is
unfaithfulness on the part of the husband or the wife.
“I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for
fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and
whoso marrieth her which is put away cloth commit adultery”

Matthew 19:9).
Fornication is the general term; adultery the specific: the former includes
the latter.

1 Corinthians 7:15 supplies no exception: if one depart from
the other, except it be on the ground of unfaithfulness, neither is free to
marry again. Separation is not divorce in the scriptural sense. “If she depart
let her remain unmarried” (

1 Corinthians 7:11).
8. “Thou shalt not steal” (v. 15)
The design of this Commandment is to inculcate honesty in all our dealings
with men. Stealing covers more than pilfering. “Owe no man anything”

Romans 13:8)
“Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but
also in the sight of men” (

2 Corinthians 8:21).
I may steal from another by fraudulent means, without using any violence.
If I borrow a book and fail to return it, that is theft — it is keeping what is
not my own. How many are guilty here! If I misrepresent an article for
sale, the price which I receive over and above its fair market-value is
stolen! The man who obtains money by gambling, receives money for
which he has doric no honest work, and is therefore a thief!
“Parents are woefully lax in their condemnation and punishment of
the sin of stealing. The child begins by taking sugar, it may be. The
mother makes light of it at first and the child’s conscience is
violated without any sense of wrong. By and by it is not an easy.300
matter to check the habit, because it grows and multiplies with
every new commission” (Mr. D. L. Moody).
9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (v. 16).
The scope of these words is much wider than is generally supposed. The
most flagrant form of this sin is to slander our neighbors — a lie invented
and circulated with malicious intentions. Few forms of injury done by one
man to another is more despicable than this, But equally reprehensible is
tale-bearing where there has been no careful investigation to verify the evil
report. False witness may be borne by leaving a false impression upon the
minds of people by a mere hint or suggestion. “Have you heard about Mr.
— ?” “No.” “Ah! Well, the least said the soonest mended.” Again, when
one makes an unjust criticism or charge against another in the hearing of a
third party, and that third party remains silent, his very silence is a breach
of this ninth Commandment. The flattering of another, exaggerated eulogy,
is a false witness. Rightly has it been said, “There is no word of the
Decalogue more often and more unconsciously broken than this ninth
Commandment, and men need perpetually and persistently to pray ‘Set a
watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.’”
10. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not
covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant,
nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s” (v. 17).
]This Commandment differs from all the others in that while they prohibit
the overt act, this condemns the very desire to act. The word “covet”
means desire, and the Commandment forbids us to covet any thing that is
our neighbor’s. Clear proof is this that these Commandments are not of
human origin. The tenth Commandment has never been placed on any
human statute book! It would be useless to do so, for men could not
enforce it. More than any other, perhaps, does this Commandment reveal
to us what we are, the hidden depths of evil within. It is natural to desire
things, even though they belong to others. True; and that only shows the
fallen and depraved state of our nature. The last Commandment is
especially designed to show men their sinfulness and their need of a Savior.
Believers, too, are exhorted to “beware of coveteousness” (

12:15). There is only one exception, and that is stated in

1 Corinthians
12:31: “Covet earnestly the best gifts.”.301
May the Holy Spirit of God fasten these Commandments upon the memory
of both writer and reader, and may the fear of God make us tremble before

The Ten Commandments expressed the obligations of man in his original
state, while enjoying free and open communion with God. But the state of
innocence was quickly departed from, and as the offspring of fallen Adam,
the children of Israel were sinners, unable to comply with the righteous
requirements of God. Fear and shame therefore made God’s approach
terrible, as He appeared in His holiness, as a consuming fire. The effects
upon Israel of the manifestation of Jehovah’s majesty at Sinai are next
“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the
noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the
people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto
Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak
with us, lest we die” (

20:18, 19).
Here was a plain acknowledgment from Israel that they were unable to
deal with God directly on the ground of the Decalogue. They felt at once
that some provision needed to he made for them. A mediator was
necessary: Moses must treat with God on their behalf. This was alright so
far as it went, but it failed to meet fully the requirements of the situation. It
met the need from their side, but not from God’s. The Lawgiver was holy,
and His righteous requirements must be met. The transgressor of Hits Law
could not be dealt with simply through a mediator as such. Satisfaction
must be made: sin must be expiated: only thus could the inexorable
demands of Divine justice be met. Accordingly this is what is brought
before us in the sequel. The very next thing which is here mentioned in
Exodus 20 is an ALTAR!
The “altar” at once tells of the provision of Divine grace, a provision which
fully met the requirements of God’s governmental claims, and which made
it possible for sinners to approach Him without shame, fear, or death; a.303
provision which secured an agreement of peace. On such a basis was the
Siniatic covenant ratified. Not that this rendered null and void what
Jehovah had said in

Exodus 19:5,
“Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My
covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all
The Siniatic covenant was an agreement wherein God proposed to deal
with Israel in blessing on the ground of their obedience. Governmentally
this was never set aside. But provision was made for their failure, and this,
right from the beginning! Israel’s failure to appropriate God’s gracious
provision only rendered the more inexcusable their subsequent wickedness.
We read of no “altar” in Eden. Man in his innocence, created in the image
and likeness of God, needed none. He had no sin to be expiated upon an
altar: he had no sense of shame, and no fear of God in coming into his
Maker’s presence and communing with Him directly. It was man’s sin
which made necessary an “altar,” and it was Divine grace which provided
one. There are two things to bear in mind here in Exodus 20: Jehovah was
not dealing with Israel on the alone ground of His righteousnes, but also
according to His rich mercy!
It is vitally important to see the relation between the two great subjects of
our chapter: God giving the Law and God furnishing instructions
concerning the altar. If it was impossible for Israel to enter directly into the
Siniatic covenant (a mediator being necessary), and if they (as sinners)
were unable to keep the Decalogue, why propose the one and give the
other? Three answers may be returned:
First, to show to Israel (and the race) that man is a sinner. A fixed
standard which definitely defined man’s fundamental relations both with
God and his fellows, a standard holy and just and good in all its parts,
revealed to man his want of conformity to God’s Law”. I had not known
sin (its inner workings as lust) but by the Law… that sin by the
commandment might become exceeding sinful” (

Romans 7:7, 13).
Second: to bring to light man’s moral inability. The Law with its purity and
its penalty, disclosed the fact that on the one hand, man was unable
(because of his corrupted nature) to keep the Law; and on the other hand,
unable to atone for his transgressions of it —.304
“Sin taking occasion by the commandment wrought in me all
manner of concupiscence… For I was alive without the Law once;
but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the
commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto
death” (

Romans 7:8, 10).
Third: to show man his need of the Savior.
“Wherefore then serveth the Law? It was added because of
transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was
made… But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up
unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the
Law was our schoolmaster unto Christ, that we might be justified
by faith” (

Galatians 3:19, 23 24).
It is therefore abundantly clear that the Ten Commandments were never
given to men or to Israel as a means of salvation, i.e., being saved through
obeying them. They were not given in statutory form till after man had
become a sinner, and his nature so corrupted that he had neither ability nor
desire to keep them. The Law was not a way of life, but a rule of conduct.
The writing of the Ten Commandments on tables of stone long after man
had become a fallen being, was to show that God’s claims upon His
creatures had not been cancelled, any more than has the right of a creditor
to collect though the debtor be unable to pay. Whether unfallen, or fallen,
or saved, or glorified, it ever remains true that man ought to love God with
all his heart and his neighbor as himself. While ever the distinction between
right and wrong holds good, man is under obligation to keep God’s Law.
This is what God was enforcing at Siani — His righteous claims upon
Israel, first as His creatures, then as His redeemed. It is true that Israel
were unable to meet those claims, therefore did God in His marvellous
grace, make provision both for their failure and the upholding of His
claims. This we see in the “altar.”
Before we examine the typical significance of the “altar” we would call
attention to a most lovely thing not found here in Exodus 20, but given in a
later scripture. As Israel beheld the fearful phenomena which manifested
the presence of Jehovah upon the Holy Mount, they said unto Moses,
“Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with
us lest we die” (

Now it is exceedingly blessed to mark God’s response to this. But not to
the careless reader is this discovered. It is only by prayerfully and diligently
comparing scripture with scripture that its exquisite perfections are
revealed, and only thus are we able to obtain a complete view of many a
scene. In

Deuteronomy 5:22, 27 Moses reviews the giving of the Law
at Sinai and the effects which that had upon the people. Then he says,
“And the Lord heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me, and
the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people,
which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said ALL that they have
spoken.” Now if we compare with this

Deuteronomy 18:17, 18. we
discover the full response which the Lord made to Israel’s request: “And
the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have
spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto
thee, and I will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them
all that I shall command Him.” The desire of Israel for a mediator, for one
of their own number to act as God’s mouthpiece unto them was to be
realized, eventually, in the great Mediator, the chief Prophet or Spokesman
of God. How blessedly does this reveal to us the thoughts of grace which
Jehovah had unto Israel even at Sinai! How refreshing to turn away from
the miserable perversions of many of the modern commentators and learn
what the Scriptures have to say concerning that memorable day at Sinai!
“And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick
darkness where God was” (v. 21).
In the above paragraph we have sought to point out a part, at least, of the
precious revelation which Jehovah made to Moses in the “thick darkness.”
Following this, Moses returned to the people with this message from the
“Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. Ye shall
not make with Me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you
gods of gold” (vv. 22, 23).
Idolatry was expressly forbidden. It was God, once more, insisting upon
His unrivalled supremacy. And then immediately after this, instructions are
given concerning the “altar.”
“An altar of earth shall thou make unto Me, and shalt sacrifice
thereon thy burnt offerings, and they peace offerings, thy sheep and
thine oxen” (v. 24)..306
The Tabernacle had not yet been erected. Clearly then, what we have here
were Divine instructions for Israel’s immediate compliance: an altar was to
be built at the foot of Sinai! It was not the future which was in view, but
the present. All doubt as to the correctness of this conclusion is forever
removed by what we read of in

Exodus 24:4 — what intervenes being a
connected account of what Jehovah made known unto Moses on the
Mount to be communicated unto the people. Here we are told, “And
Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning,
and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according W the
twelve tribes of Israel.” That there may be no possibility of failure to
identify this “altar,” it is immediately added. “And he sent young men of
the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace
offerings of oxen unto the Lord. Here then was the “altar” (of earth), and
here were the “burnt offerings” and the “peace of offerings.” And why has
the Holy Spirit been so careful to record these details here in Exodus 24?
Why, if not to show us the fulfillment of Jehovah’s word unto Pharaoh:
“Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let My people go, that they
may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness” (5:1)!
The “peace-offering” is the one offering of all others specially connected
with feasting: “And Solomon awoke; and, behold it was a dream. And he
came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord,
and offered up burnt offerings and offered peace offerings, and made a
feast to all his servants (

1 Kings 3:15, cf. 8:64, 65, etc).
“In all places where I record My name I will come unto thee, and I
will bless thee” (v. 24).
Plainly this begins a new sentence and is connected with what follows, as
the first words of v. 25 clearly show,

Jeremiah 7:12 affords an
illustration of what is meant by God recording His name in a place:
“But go ye now unto My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My
name at the first.” Let the interested reader look up the various
references to “Shiloh.”
Compare also “Bethel” and “Zion” where God’s name was also recorded.
“And if thou wilt make Me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it
of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it thou hast polluted
it” (v. 25)..307
The connection between this and the last clause of v. 24 is most significant
and important. God had promised to “come unto” Israel and “bless” them
in all places where His name was recorded. But if Israel were to come unto
Jehovah an “altar” must be erected, an altar where blood should flow and
fire consume: blood to propitiate God; fire to signify His acceptance of the
The first thing to notice about this altar (like the one in the previous verse)
is its extreme simplicity and plainness. This was in marked contrast from
the “gods of sliver” and “gods of gold” (v. 23) of the heathen The altar
which Israel was to erect unto God must not be made of that which man
had manufactured, nor beautified by his skill: there should be in it no
excellence which human hand had imparted. Man would naturally suppose
that an altar to be used for Divine sacrifices should be of gold, artistically
designed and richly ornamented. Yes, but that would only allow man to
glorify himself in his handiwork. The great God will allow “no” flesh to
glory in His presence” (

1 Corinthians 1:29). Solemn indeed are the
words “If thou liftest up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.” “Not by
works of righteousness which we have done” (

Titus 3:5) is the New
Testament equivalent. Sinfulness cannot approach the thrice holy God with
any thing in hand which his own labors have produced. That is why the
Lord had not respect unto the offering which Cain brought to Him: Cain
presented the fruits of the ground, the product of his own labors; and God
rejected them. And God still rejects all the efforts of the natural man to
propitiate Him. All the attempts of the sinner to win the notice and merit
the respect of God by his efforts at self-improvement are worse than vain.
What God demands of His fallen creatures is that they should take the
place of lost sinners before Him, coming empty-handed to receive
undeserved mercy.
“Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto Mine altar” (v. 26).
The meaning of this is not difficult to perceive. It is parallel in principle to
what was before us in the previous verse. “Steps” are a human contrivance
to avoid the strain of rising from a lower level to a higher. Man cannot
climb up to God by any stops of his own making. What God requires from
the sinner is, that he shall take his true place before Him — in the dust.
There God will meet with him. It is true that morally and spiritually man is
separated from God by a distance, a distance far too great for man to ever
bridge. But though man cannot climb up to God, God, in the person of His.308
Son, has come down all the way to the poor sinner. The second chapter of
Philippians describes that marvellous and gracious descent of the Lord of
glory. Five distinct, “steps” are there marked — the number of grace. He
who was in the form of God and thought it not robbery to be equal with
(1) “made Himself of no reputation,”
(2) “took upon Him the form of a servant,”
(3) “and was made in the likeness of men.”
(4) “Being found in fashion as a man He humbled Himself,”
(5) “and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Self-evident is it then that there are no “steps” for man to climb!
“Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto Mine altar, that thy
nakedness be not discovered thereon” (v. 26).
The very efforts of men to climb up to God only expose their own shame.
Remarkably is this brought out in the very chapter which records the
entrance of sin into this world. As soon as Adam and Eve had eaten of the
prescribed fruit we are told.
“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they
were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made
themselves aprons” (

Genesis 3:7).
But of what avail were those aprons before Him who can read the
innermost secrets of the heart? The very next thing we read is “And they
heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the
day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord
God amongst the trees of the garden.” Their fig-leaf “aprons” did not now
even satisfy themselves! But that is not all: “and the Lord God called unto
Adam. and said unto him, Where art thou?” And what was our guilty
forefather’s response? This: “And he said I heard Thy voice in the garden,
and I was afraid, because. I was naked; and I hid myself.” The apron of fig-leaves
only served to make manifest and emphasize the fact that he was
naked — naked even with the “apron” on! How true, then, that man’s very
efforts to climb up to God do but expose his shame!.309
It should be pointed out, in conclusion, that the two “altars,” the one of
“earth” and the other of “stone,” both point to the person of the Lord
Jesus, bringing out His varied perfections. On this we cannot do better than
let Mr. Grant interpret for us: —
“The material which God accepts for His altar, then, is either earth
or stone, things which are in contrast with one another; ‘earth’
deriving its name from its crumbling character (eratz, from ratz, to
crumble away, says Parkhurst, of the Hebrew word); and ‘stone,’
which resists pressure, and is characterized by its hardness and
durability. Of the dust of the earth man is made, and as this is fertile
as it yields to the hand that dressed it, so is man to God, as he
yields himself to the Divine hand. Earth seems thus naturally to
stand for the creature in its frailty, — conscious of it, and accepting
the place of weakness and subjection, thus to the bringing forth of
fruit to God. While ‘stone’ stands for the strength that is found in
another, linked with and growing out of the consciousness of
weakness: ‘When I am weak, then am I strong.’
“Now in both respects He who was perfect, who came down to all
the reality of manhood to know both its weakness and the
wondrous strength which is wrought out of weakness, thus waiting
upon and subject to God. It was thus in endurance He yielded
Himself up, and endured by yielding Himself to His Father’s will.”
The “earth” then, corresponds in thought to the “fine flour” of the meal
offering (Leviticus 2), speaking of the perfect yieldedness of Christ’s to the
Father’s will.
Most blessedly was this evidenced in Gethsemane, where we hear Him
saying, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done.” The “stone” points
to the same thing as the “brass” in the Tabernacle altar. It showed there
was that in Christ (and in Him alone) capable of enduring the fearful fires
of God’s wrath. The fact that the stones of this altar must not be “hewn,”
shaped by human chisel, shows once more how jealously God guarded the
accuracy of these types. The stones must be left just as the Creator had
made them — man must not change their form. The antitype or this would
be that Christ, as it were, retained the “form” which God had given Him,
And all the pressure of circumstances and all the efforts of men and Satan
could not alter it. When the Lord announced the Cross (the “altar” on
which the great Sacrifice was to be offered. Peter said, Spare Thyself”: that.310
was Satan, through man, attempting to “hew” the “stone”; but the Lord
suffered it not.
May God stir up writer and reader to a more diligent and prayerful
searching of the Scriptures..311

EXODUS 21:1-6
The law of Moses had three grand divisions: the moral the civil, and the
ceremonial. The first is to be found in the Ten Commandments; the second
(mainly) in Exodus 21-23; the third (principally) in the book of Leviticus.
The first defined God’s claims upon Israel as human creatures; the second
was for the social regulation of the Hebrew commonwealth; the third
respected Israel’s religious life. In the first we may see the governmental
authority of God the Father; in the second, the sphere and activities of God
the Holy Spirit — maintaining order among God’s people: in the third, we
have a series of types concernning God the Son.
“Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. If
thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the
seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he
shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go
out with him. If his master has given him a wife, and she have borne
him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her
master’s, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall
plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not
go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he
shall also bring him to the door, or unto the doorpost; and his
master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him

Exodus 21:1-6).
This passage begins the series of “judgments” or statutes which God gave
unto Israel for the regulation of their social and civil life. Its chief value for
us today lies in its spiritual application to the Lord Jesus Christ. We have
here a most beautiful and blessed foreshadowment of His person and work:

Psalm 40:6 compared with

Exodus 21:6 proves this conclusively. In
that great Messianic Psalm the Lord Jesus, speaking in the spirit of
prophecy, said, “Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; Mine ears
hast Thou digged.”.312
The passage before us pertained to the servant or slave. It brings out, in
type, the Perfect Servant. Messianic prophecy frequently viewed Him in
this character:
“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold” (

Isaiah 42:1).
“Behold, I will bring forth My Servant, the Branch”

Zechariah 3:8).
“Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently. He shall be exalted and
extolled, and be very high” (

Isaiah 52:13).
“By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many for He
shall bear their iniquities” (

Isaiah 53:11).
In Philippians 2 we are exhorted, “Let this mind be in you which was also
in Christ Jesus” (v. 5). This is enforced as follows: “Who, being in the form
of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of
no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a Servant, and was made in
the likeness of man: And being found in fashion as a man He humbled
Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Marvelous stoop was this: from the place of highest authority, to that of
utmost dependency; from honor and glory, to suffering and shame. The
Maker of heaven and earth entering the place of subjection. The One
before whom the seraphim veiled their faces being made lower than the
angels. May we never lose our sense of wonderment at such amazing
condescension; rather may we delight in reverently contemplating it with
ever-deepening awe and adoration.
One whole book in the New Testament is devoted exclusively to setting
before us the service of the perfect Servant. The design of Mark’s Gospel
is to show us how He served: the spirit which actuated Him, the motives
and principles which regulated Him, the excellency of all that He did. (This
has been treated of in our book, “Why Four Gospels”.)
“Lo, I come, to do Thy will, O God” (

Hebrews 10:9),
was His utterance when He took the Servant form.
“Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business”

Luke 2:49)
are His first recorded words after He came here..313
“I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will
of Him that sent Me” (

John 6:38)
summed up the whole of His perfect life while He tabernacled among men.
As the perfect Servant. He was dependent upon the pleasure of His
Master. He “pleased not Himself” (

Romans 15:3). “I am among you as
He that serveth” (

Luke 22:27) were His words to the apostles.
The servanthood of Christ was perfectly voluntary. The passages cited
above prove that. And herein we behold the uniqueness of it. Who
naturally chooses to be a servant? How different from the first Adam! He
was given the place of a servant, but he forsook it. He was required to be
in subjection to his Maker, but he revolted. And what was it that lured him
from the place of submission? “Ye shall be as God” was the appealing lie
which caused his downfall. With the Lord Jesus it was the very reverse. He
was “as God.” yea. He was God; yet did He make Himself of “No
reputation.” He voluntarily laid aside His eternal glory, divested Himself of
all the insignia of Divine majesty, and took the servant form. And when the
Tempter approached Him and sought to induce Him to repudiate His
dependency on God, “make these stones bread,” He announced His
unfaltering purple to live in subjection to the Father of spirits. Never for a
moment did He deviate from the path of complete submission to the
Father’s will.
“If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve” (v. 2).
The first thing to be noted here is the service of the servant. His master had
a certain definitely defined claim upon him: “six years he shall serve him.”
Six is the number of man (

Revelation 13:18), therefore what is in view
here is the measure of human responsibility what man owes to his lawful
Owner. The Owner of man is God, what, then, does man owe to his
Maker? We answer, unqualified submission, complete subjection, implicit
obedience to His known will. Now the will of God for man is expressed in
the Law, conformity to which is all summed up in the words “Thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with all thy heart…. and thy neighbor as thyself.”
This every descendent of fallen Adam has failed to do. The Law has
brought in all the world guilty before God. (

Romans 3:19).
Now the Lord Jesus came down to this world to honor God in the very
place where He had been universally dishonored. He came here to.314
“magnify the Law and make it honorable.” Therefore was He “made under
the Law” (

Galatians 4:4). Therefore did He formally announce,
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am
not come to destroy but to fuifill” (

Matthew 5:17).
God’s Law was within His heart (

Psalm 40:8). In it He meditated day
and night (

Psalm 1:2). Prom beginning to end, in thought, word, and
deed, He kept the Law. Every demand of God upon man was fully met by
the Perfect Man: every claim of God completely upheld. Christ is the only
man who ever fully discharged human responsibility Godwards and
“And in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing” (v. 2).
After the Hebrew servant had served for six years, his master had no
further claim upon him. When the seventh year arrived (which tells of
service completed) he was at liberty to go out, and serve no more. This
was also true of the lord Jesus, the anti-type. The time came in His life
when, as Man, He had fulfilled every jot and tittle of human responsibility,
and when the Law had, therefore no further claim upon Him. We believe
that this point was reached when He stood upon the “holy mount,” when in
the presence of His disciples He was transfigured, and when there came a
voice from the excellent glory proclaiming Him to be the One in whom the
Father delighted This, we believe, was the Father bearing witness to the
fact that Christ was the faithful “Hebrew Servant.” Right then He could (so
far as the Law was concerned) have stepped from that mount to the
Throne of Glory, He had perfectly fulfilled every righteous claim that God
had upon man: He had loved the Lord with all His heart and His neighbor
as Himself.
“If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were
married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master has given
him a wife. and she have borne him sons and daughters; the wife
and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out by
himself” (vv. 3, 4).
We shall confine our remarks on these verses to the anti-type. The lord
Jesus had no wife when He entered upon “His service.” for Israel had been
divorced (

Isaiah 50:1). Now although He was entitled by the Law to
“go out free,” the same Law required that He should go out alone — “by
himself.” This points us to something about which there has been much.315
confusion. There was no union possible with the Lord Jesus in the
perfections of His human life:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn a wheat fall into the
ground and die, it abideth alone” (

John 12:24).
Nothing could be plainer than this. The very perfections of the Servant of
God only served to emphasize the more the distinction between Him and
sinful man. It is only on resurrection-ground that union with Christ is
possible, and for that death must intervene. It was on the resurrection-morning
that He, for the first time, called His disciples “brethren.” Does,
then, our type fail us here? No, indeed. These typical pictures were drawn
by the Divine Artist, and like Him. they are perfect. The next two verses
bring this out beautifully.
“And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and
my children, I will not go free: Then his master shall bring him unto
the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door
posts; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he
shall serve him for ever” (vv. 5, 6).
Most blessed is this. It was love which impelled him to forego the freedom
to which He was fully entitled by the Law — a threefold love: for His
Master, his wife, and his children. But mark it well: “if the servant shall
plainly say, I love my master,” etc. When was it that the perfect Servant
said this? Clearly it must have been just after the Transfiguration, for as we
have seen, it was then that He had fulfilled every requirement of the Law,
and so could have gone out free. Equally plain is it that we must turn to the
fourth Gospel for the avowal of His love for it is there, as nowhere else,
His love is told forth by the apostle of love. Now in John’s Gospel there is
no account of the Transfiguration, but there is that which closely
corresponds to it: John 12 gives us the parallel and the sequel to Matthew
17. It is here that we find Him saying,
“The hour is come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Verily,
verily: I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground
and die, it abideth alone” (

John 12:23, 24),
and then He added “But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Mark
carefully what follows: “Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say?
Father save Me from this hour?” Ah, He answered His own question:.316
“But for this cause came I unto this hour: Father, glorify Thy
name” (vv. 27, 28).
“What led Him to say that? Love! Love that thinks not of self at all;
love that places itself entirely at the disposal of the loved ones. No
matter what that terrible ‘hour’ contained, and He knew it all, He
would go through it in His love to His Father and to us” (J. T.
Love led Him to undertake a service that the Law did not lay upon Him, a
service that involved suffering (as the “bored” ear intimates) a service
which was to last forever.
Every detail in this truly wondrous type calls for separate consideration. “If
the servant shall plainly say, I love my master.” This, be it noted, comes
before the avowal of his love for his wife and children. This, of itself, is
sufficient to establish the fact that what we have here must be of more than
local application, for when and where was there ever a servant who put the
love of his “master” before that of his wife and children? Clearly we are
obliged to look for someone who is “Fairer than the children of men.” And
how perfectly the type answers to the anti-type! There is no difficulty here
when we see that the Holy Spirit had the Lord Jesus in view. Love to His
Father, His “Master;” was ever the controlling motive in the life of the
perfect Servant. His first recorded utterance demonstrated this. Subject to
Mary and Joseph He was as a child, yet even then the claims of His
Father’s “business” were paramount. So too, in John 11, where we read of
the sisters of Lazarus (whom He loved) sending Him a message that their
brother was sick. Instead of hastening at once to their side, He “abode two
days still in the same place where He was!” And why, “For the glory of
God” (v. 4). It was not the affection of His human heart, but the will of His
Father that moved Him. So, once more, in John 12, when He contemplated
that awful ‘hour’ which troubled His soul. He said, “Father, glorify Thy
name.” The Father’s glory was His first concern. At once, the answer
came, “I have both glorified (Thee) and will glorify (Thee) again” (v. 28).
What is meant by the “again”? The Father’s name had already been
glorified through the perfect fulfillment of His Law in the life of the Lord
Jesus, as well as in that which was infinitely greater — the revelation of
Himself to men. But He would also glorify Himself in the death and
resurrection of His Son, and in the fruits thereof..317
“I love… my wife.” In the type this was said prospectively. The Lord Jesus
is to have a Bride. The “wife” is here carefully distinguished from His
“children.” The “wife,” we believe, is redeemed millennial Israel Both the
“wife” and the “children” are the fruit of His death. The two are carefully
distinguished again in John 11:
“But being high priest that year, he (Caiaphas) prophesied that
Jesus should die for (1) that nation; and not for that nation only, but
that (2) also He should gather together in one the children of God
that were scattered abroad” (vv. 51:52).
Looking forward to the time when Christ shall see of the travail of His soul
and be satisfied, the Holy Spirit says to Israel,
“Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou
confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt
forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach
of thy widowhood any more. For thy Maker is thine Husband: the
Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of
Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called. For the Lord
hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a
wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small
moment, have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather
thee. In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but
with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord,
thy Redeemer” (

Isaiah 54:4-8).
“I love… My children.” Christ’s love was not limited to Israel, even though
here. as ever, it is the Jew first. No; not only was He to die for “that
Nation” not “this Nation.” the then present nation of Israel, but “that”
future Nation. which shall be born “at once,” (

Isaiah 66:8), but also He
should “gather together in one (family) the children of God that were
scattered abroad.” “Children of God” is never applied in Scripture to
Israel. These “children” were to be the fruit of His dying travail. Blessed is
it to hear Him say,
“Behold I and the children which God hath given Me”

Hebrews 2:13).
“Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring
him to the door, or unto the door post, and his master shall bore his
ear through with an aul” (v. 6)..318
The boring of the ear marked the entire devotedness of the servant to do
His Master’s wilt.
“The door-post was the sign of personal limits: by it the family
entered, and none else had the right. It was not therefore a thing
that might pertain to a stranger, but pre-eminently that which
belonged to that household. This too was the reason why it was on
the door-post that the blood of the paschal lamb was sprinkled; it
was staving the hand of God. so far as that house was concerned,
on the first-born there, but on no one else. So here” (Mr. W Kelly).
Important truth is this. Christ died not for the human race why should He
when half of it was already in Hell! He died for the Household of God, His
“wife” and “children,” and for none (else:

John 11:51. 52 proves that
cf., also

Matthew 1:21:

John 10:11; Hebrews 2: 17, 9:28, etc.
Significant too is this: when his master took his servant and bored his ear.
So long as he lived that servant carried about in his body the mark of his
servitude. So, too, the Lord Jesus wears forever in His body the marks of
the Cross! After He had risen from the dead, He said to doubting Thomas.
“Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy
hand and thrust it into My side” (

John 20:27).
So, too, in Revelation 5 the Lamb is seen, “as it had been slain” (v. 6).
“And his master shall bore his ear through with an aul, and he shall
serve him forever” (v. 6).
Very wonderful is this in its application to the Antitype. The service of the
Lord Jesus did not terminate when He left this earth. Though He has
ascended on high, He is still ministering to His own. A beautiful picture of
this is found in John 13, though we cannot now discuss it at any length.
What is there in view is a parabolic sample of His work for His people
since He returned to the Father. The opening verse of that chapter supplies
the key to what follows: “When Jesus knew that His hour was come that
He should depart out of this world unto the Father.” So, too, in the fourth
verse: “He riseth from supper (which spoke of His death) and laid aside His
garments,” which is literally what He did when He left the sepulcher. In
John 13, then, from v. 4 onwards, we are on this side of the resurrection.
The washing of the disciples feet tells of Christ’s present work of
maintaining the walk of His own as they pass through this defiling scene.
The towel and the basin speak of the love of the Servant — Savior in.319
ministering to the needs of His own. Even now that lie has returned to the
glory He is still serving us.
“But “he shall serve him forever.” Will this be true of the Lord Jesus? It
certainly will. There is a remarkable passage in Luke 12 which brings this
“Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall
find watching: verily I say unto you that He shall gird Himself, and
make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve
them” (v. 37).
Even in the Kingdom He will still serve us. But how can that be? Our feet
will not require washing; we shall no longer have any need to be met. True,
gloriously true. But, if there is no need on our part. there is love on His.
and love ever delights to minister unto its beloved. Surpassingly wonderful
is this: “He will come forth and serve them.” How great the condescension!
In the kingdom He will be seated upon the Throne of His Glory, holding
the reigns of government: acknowledged as the King of kings and Lord of
lords; and yet He will delight to minister unto our enjoyment. And too, He
will serve “forever”: it will be the eternal activity of Divine love delighting
to minister to others.
Thus in this wondrous type we have shown forth the love of God’s, faithful
Servant ministering to His Master. His wife, and His children, in His life.
His death, His resurrection, and in His kingdom, The character of His
service was perfect, denoted by the six years and seventh “go out free.”
The spring of His service was love, seen in His declining to go out free.
The duration of His service, is “for ever”! The Lord enable us to heed that
searching and needful word,
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”

Philippians 2:5)..320

The twenty-fourth chapter of Exodus introduces us to a scene for which
there is nothing approaching a parallel on all the pages of inspired history
prior to the Divine Incarnation and the tabernacling of God among men. It
might suitably be designated the Old Testament Mount of Transfiguration,
for here Jehovah manifested His glory as never before or after during the
whole of the Mosaic economy. Here we witness Moses and Aaron, Nadab
and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel in the very presence of God,
and not only are we told that “He laid not His hand on them.” but they
were thoroughly at ease in His presence, for they did “eat and drink”
before Him! Before endeavoring to contemplate such a glorious scene let
us offer a brief remark on its occasion and setting.
In Exodus 19 we behold Jehovah proposing to enter into a covenant of
works with Israel, making their national blessing contingent upon their
obedience to His commandments (vv. 5, 6). To the terms of this covenant
the chosen people unanimously and heartily agreed (v. 8). Following their
purification, of themselves, three days later God came down to the summit
of Sinai and spake to Moses, charging him to go and again warn the people
assembled at its base not to break the barrier which had been erected. After
which God spake all that is recorded in Exodus 20 to 23. Concerning the
Ten Words in chapter 20 and the typical significance of the “judgment”
regarding slaves at the beginning of 21, we have already commented; the re
mainder of those chapters we now pass over as not falling within the scope
of our present work, which is to concentrate upon that which is more
obvious in the typical teachings of Exodus. That there is much spiritual
teaching as well as moral instruction in Exodus 22 and 23 we doubt not,
but so far as we are aware God has not yet been pleased to enlighten any of
His servants thereon. Let the student, however, read carefully through
them, noting how just, comprehensive and perfect were the laws which the
Lord gave unto Israel..321
“And He said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou and
Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel and
worship ye afar off” (v. 1).
In the light of what precedes, this is most significant and solemn. It tells us
in language too plain to be misunderstood that man cannot approach unto
God on the ground of his own works. Mark that this was said by the Lord
before the legal covenant had been confirmed, and therefore before a single
failure had been recorded against Israel under that economy. Even had
there been no failure, no disobedience, yet the keeping of God’s
commandments cannot secure access into the Divine presence as the “afar
off” plainly denoted. For any man to come unto the Father, the work of
Christ was indispensable.
“And Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but they shall not
come nigh, neither shall the people go up with him” (v. 2).
An exception was made in the case of Moses, not because he possessed
any superior claim upon God, nor because he was personally entitled to
such a privilege, but only because he was the appointed mediator between
God and His people, and therefore the type of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is
this which gives meaning to and opens for us the typical significance of so
much that is recorded about Moses. The repeated prohibition in this verse
emphasizes what is said in the previous one and confirms our comments
thereon; Christ had to suffer for sins,
“The Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God”

1 Peter 3:18).
“And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord,
and all the Judgments; and all the people answered with one voice,
and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do” (v. 3).
The “words” refer to the ten commandments recorded in Exodus 20, the
“Judgments” to what is found in chapters 21 to 23, as the first verse of 21
intimates. It is most important to observe that the Ten Words are here
again definitely distinguished from the other “Judgments,” affording
additional confirmation of what we have said thereon in previous articles.
Once more the people unanimously registered their acceptance of the
covenant of works..322
“And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in
the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars,
according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of
the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed
peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord” (vv. 4, 5).
That was in obedience to what the Lord had said unto Moses as recorded
in 20:24. The “young men” (probably the “first born” who had been
sanctified unto the Lord, 13:2, etc.) performed this priestly work because
the Levites had not yet been set apart to that office. Much confusion has
been caused through failing to note the specific character of these
sacrifices. It was not the blood of atonement which was here shed, for
wherever that is in view it is always for the averting of God’s holy wrath
against sin. But nothing like that is seen here. What we have before us is
that which speaks of thanksgiving and dedication unto God (the “‘burnt”
offering) and that which tells of happy fellowship (the “peace” offering).
“And Moses took half of the blood, and put in basons; and half of
the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the blood of the
covenant, and read in the audience of the people; and they said All
that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient” (vv. 6, 7).
For a full exposition of the meaning of Moses’ act we must refer the reader
to Hebrews 9, regretting very much that we cannot here give a detailed
interpretation of that most important chapter; it will be noted that vv. 18-
20 refer specifically to what is here before us in Exodus 24. Suffice it now
to say that, so far as the historical significance of this sprinkling of the
blood was concerned, it denoted a solemn ratification of the covenant into
which Israel entered with Jehovah at Sinai. Note how the covenant God
made with Noah was also preceded by a sacrifice offered to Him:

Genesis 8:20 to 9; so too in connection with the Abrahamic covenant

Genesis 15:9, 10, 17).
“Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of
the elders of Israel; and they saw the God of Israel” (vv. 9, 10).
Precious beyond words is this, showing us the inestimable value of the
blood, and the wondrous privileges it procures for those who are sprinkled
by it. Note the connecting “then,” i.e., when the blood had been applied. A
similar example, equally forceful and blessed, is found in

7:14, 15, where we read, “And He said to me, These are they which came.323
out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white
in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and
serve Him day and night in His temple.” The “elders” of Exodus 24 were
representatives of the Nation. Here then was a blood-sprinkled people,
who had not yet broken the covenant, in communion with God. The eating
and drinking told of the fullness of their welcome and of the peace which
ruled their hearts in the Divine Presence.
“And they saw the God of Israel; and there was under His feet as it
were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of
heaven in his clearness” (v. 10).
The “sapphire stone” speaks of Divine government — the throne of God
— as a reference to

Ezekiel 1:26 will show; that government which will
yet rest upon the shoulders of “the Man” Christ Jesus. But why the “paved
work”? May not the reference be to the finished work of the Savior which
forms the basis of His Millennial reign? Christ came here to finish the
Father’s work (

John 5:17, 17:4), piecing it all together, that it might be
a pavement of glory as the place of His feet. The “body of heaven in his
clearness” may speak of the Divine counsels. If we look up to heaven on a
clear day all is blue; it is the intensity of the depths of space, infinite — like
Jehovah’s counsels. But in Christ God has brought His counsels so near
that we may contemplate them as the body of heaven in its clearness.
“And upon the nobles of the children He laid not His hand; also
they saw God, and did eat and drink” (v. 11).
“But yesterday it would have been death to them to ‘break through
to gaze’ but now ‘they saw God’! And such was their ‘boldness,’
due to the blood of the covenant, that ‘they did eat and drink’ in the
Divine presence. The man off the world will ask, How could ‘the
blood of calves and goats’ make any difference in their fitness to
approach God? And the answer is, Just in the same way that a few
pieces of paper may raise a pauper from poverty to wealth. The
bank-note paper is intrinsically worthless, but it represents gold in
the coffers of the Bank of England. Just as valueless was that
‘blood of slain beasts,’ but it represented ‘the precious blood of
Christ.’ And just as in a single day the bank-notes may raise the
recipient from pauperism to affluence, so that blood availed to
constitute the Israelites a holy people in covenant with God” (Sir
Robert Anderson)..324
There is one thing here that is very solemn, namely, the repeated mention
of Nadab and Abihu; vv. 1, 9.
“They were both sons of Aaron, and with their father were selected
for this singular privilege. But neither light nor privilege can ensure
salvation, nor, if believers, a holy and obedient walk. Both
afterwards met with a terrible end. They ‘offered strange fire before
the Lord, which He commanded them not. And there went out fire
from the Lord, and devoured them; and they died before the Lord’

Leviticus 10:1, 2). After this scene in our chapter, they were
consecrated to the priesthood and it was while in the performance
of their duty in this office, or rather because of their failure in it,
that they fell under the judgment of God. Let the warning sink deep
into our hearts, that office and special privileges are alike powerless
to save” (Mr. Dennett).
Israel’s history continued for almost fifteen hundred years after this
memorable occasion, but never again did their elders “see God,” and never
again did they eat and drink in His presence. Sin came in; their very next
act was to break the holy Law by making and worshipping a golden calf,
and the next time we see them drinking, it is of the waters of judgment

32:20). How unspeakably blessed to remember that what Israel
(through their official heads) enjoyed for a brief season, is now ours
forever! A way has been opened for us into the very presence of God, and
there, within the vail, we may commune with Him.
In the remainder of our chapter Moses is once again separated from Aaron,
Nadab and Abihu and the seventy elders, resuming his mediatorial position,
to receive from God the two tables of stone which He had written. For this
purpose he is called up to meet the Lord in the Mount — apparently at the
summit — where he remained forty days and nights alone with God.
During this time the glory of the Lord was displayed before the eyes of
Israel for seven days — a glory “like devouring fire” (vv. 15 to 18).
“This was not the glory of His grace but the glory of His holiness,
as is seen by the symbol of devouring fire — the glory of the Lord
in His relationship with Israel on the basis of the law (compare 2
Corinthians 3). It was a glory therefore that no sinner could dare
approach, for holiness and sin cannot be brought together; but now,
through the grace of God, on the ground of accomplished
atonement, believers can not only draw near, and be at home in the.325
glory, but with unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord are
changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of
the Lord (

2 Corinthians 3:18). We approach boldly, and with
delight gaze upon the glory, because every ray we behold in the
face of Christ glorified is a proof of the fact that our sins are put
away, and that redemption is accomplished” (Mr. E. Dennett).
“And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into
the mount; and Moses was in the Mount forty days and forty
nights” (v. 18).
Those forty days, what happened in them, and the typical significance of
those happenings, together with the sequel, form one of the most
wondrous of the many wonderful types in all the Old Testament. The Holy
Spirit now focuses attention on Moses, type of our Lord Jesus Christ.
First, he is seen entering the glory, consequent upon his having erected the
altar and sprinkled the blood. “And the glory of the Lord abode upon
Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and the seventh day He
called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
And Moses went into the midst of the cloud” (vv. 16, 18). How beautiful
and how perfect the type! After “six days,” which speaks of work and toil,
on the seventh day, which tells of rest, Moses, the mediator, is called by
God to enter the glory. So of Him of whom Moses was the type it is
“He that is entered into His rest, He also hath ceased from His own
works (

Hebrews 4:10).
And what is the character of the “rest” into which He has entered? Does
not His own request in

John 17:4, 5, furnish us with the answer:
“I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now,
O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory
which I had with Thee before the world was.”
Yes, He has entered into the Glory. Moses going up the Mount and
entering the cloud to commune with Jehovah is a type of the Ascension of
Christ, following the triumphant completion of the work which had been
given Him to do..326
We are not left in ignorance as to what formed the subject of communion
between the Lord and Moses during the forty days in the Mount; the next
six chapters of Exodus tell us that it was about the marvellous and
mysterious Tabernacle, the pattern of which Moses was shown while there
on Sinai. As we shall yet see, the Tabernacle and all its parts prefigure the
manifold perfections of the Lord Jesus, making known the full provisions
of God’s grace stored up in His beloved Son — provisions which meet
every need of His favored people. The tabernacle is what meets our eye in
Exodus while Moses is up the Mount, for it is not until after it has been
fully described that we behold him descending. Thus has the Holy Spirit
supplied us with an important key to open the spiritual treasures of this
portion of the Word, by intimating that the Tabernacle speaks of what
God’s grace has furnished for us during the interval of the Mediator’s
absence from the earth.
And what is the next thing recorded in this book so rich in typical pictures
of the Redeemer? Why, the descent of Moses, which we have in chapters
32, 33, 34. Moses did not end His days there upon Sinai, but returned unto
his people. So also the Lord Jesus who has gone on High is not to remain
absent from the earth forever; the words of the angels to His disciples at
His ascension make this indelibly clear —
“Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same
Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like
manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (

Acts 1:11).
Yes, shall return to this same earth from which He went to heaven, return
in person just as literally and truly as He left it.
But, now, students of prophecy have discovered that the Holy Scriptures
divide the second advent of Christ into two distinct stages; the first, when
He descends into the air for His saints, to receive them unto Himself (

Thessalonians 4:16, etc.); the second, when He descends to the earth with
His saints (

Colossians 3:4, etc.). These two stages of His second advent
each have a most important bearing upon the Jews; the first will be
followed by judgment, the second by blessing. After the Church has been
removed from this world, there follows the time of “Jacob’s trouble”

Jeremiah 30:7), when God deals with His earthly people and punishes
them for their sins, this period also being known as the Great Tribulation.
After this period has run its course, the Lord Jesus descends in blessing,.327
purges Israel, and in full manifested glory dwells in their midst — this will
be during the Millennium.
What is so striking in the type which we are now engaged with is that these
two stages in the second advent of the great Mediator are here vividly
foreshadowed. Mark how complete the type is: Moses came down twice
from Sinai after he had entered the glory! But let us observe first how
Israel were conducting themselves during the time of his absence in the
“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out
of the Mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron,
and said unto him, Up, make us gods which shall go before us out
of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him” (

Is not this the very condition of the Jews today during the Messiah’s
absence? They are all at sea, knowing not what to think. But that is not all.
During Moses’ absence they made a calf of gold and worshipped it — and
are we not now witnessing the very same thing over again? If there is one
thing which characterizes the Jew today above everything else it is not the
love of conquest or of pleasure, as with the Gentiles, but the lust for gold.
Now Just as Moses at his first descent from the Mount found Israel
worshipping the golden calf, so at the first stage at the second coming of
Christ the Jews will be wholly occupied with their greed for riches. And
what was Moses’ response? Read

Exodus 32:19-28. He acted in
judgment. He made them drink a bitter cup of their own providing and
gave orders for the sword to do its fearful work among them. Thus will it
be right after the first stage of the Descent of Christ — they shall be made
to drink of the vials of God’s wrath. But though sore will be their
desolations the Jews will not be completely destroyed. Blessed is it to mark
the sequel here. Moses returned unto the Lord and interceded on Israel’s
behalf (

32:30, 32). So also will the Lord Jesus yet intercede before God
on behalf of the Jews: See Zechariah 3.
In Exodus 33 and 34 we have the second descent of Moses from the Glory.
He came down from the Mount with shining face, so that the people were
afraid to come near him. But he quickly reassured them. This time he
descended not in judgment, but in mercy, and therefore did he place them
at ease by talking with them — so that “all the children of Israel came.328
nigh” (vv. 30-32). Thus will it be when the Sun of Righteousness rises
upon Israel with healing in His wings. Moses now
“gave them in commandment all the Lord had spoken with him in
Mount Sinai” (v. 32),
which was a beautiful type of Millennial conditions;
“out of Zion shall go forth the Law and the Word of the Lord from
Jerusalem” (

Isaiah 2:3).
And what is the remainder of Exodus occupied with? Nothing but the
erection of the Tabernacle. Chapters 35 to 39 give us God’s habitation in
the midst of Israel. In the closing chapters we read. “And he reared up the
court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of
the court gate. So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent
of the congregation and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (vv. 33-
34), a lovely type of Christ in the Millennium in the midst of Israel! And
there the book of Exodus ends. May the Lord give us eyes to see and
hearts to enjoy the wonders of His own workmanship..329

EXODUS 25-40
We have now arrived at the longest, most blessed, but least read and
understood section of this precious book of Exodus. From the beginning of
chapter 25 to the end of 40 — excepting the important parenthesis in 32 to
34 — the Holy Spirit has given us a detailed description of the Tabernacle,
its structure, furniture, and priesthood. It is a fact worthy of our closest
and fullest consideration that more space is devoted to an account of the
Tabernacle than to any other single object or subject treated of in Holy
Writ. Its courts, its furniture, and its ritual are described with a surprising
particularity of detail. Two chapters suffice for a record of God’s work in
creating and fitting this earth for human habitation, whereas ten chapters
are needed to tell us about the Tabernacle. Truly God’s thoughts and ways
are different from ours;
How sadly many of God’s own people have dishonored Him and His Word
by their studied neglect of these chapters! Too many have seen in the
Tabernacle, with its Divinely-appointed arrangements and services, only a
ritual of the past — a record of Jewish manners and customs which have
long since passed away and which have no meaning for or value to us. But
“all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable”

2 Timothy 3:16).
The Christian cannot neglect any portion of the Word without suffering
“whatsoever things were written aforetime (in the Old Testament)
were written for our learning” (

Romans 15:4).
Again and again in the New Testament the Holy Spirit makes figurative
reference to the Tabernacle and its furniture, and much in the Epistle to the
Hebrews cannot be understood without reference to the contents of
Exodus and Leviticus..330
“The tabernacle is one of the most important and instructive types.
Here is such a variety of truths, here is such a fullness and
manifoldness of spiritual teaching, that our great difficulty is to
combine all the various lessons and aspects which it presents. The
tabernacle has no fewer than three meanings, In the first place, the
tabernacle is a type, a visible illustration, of that heavenly place in
which God has His dwelling. In the second place, the tabernacle is a
type of Jesus Christ, who is the meeting-place between God and
man. And, in the third place, the tabernacle is a type of Christ in the
Church — of the communion of Jesus with all believers” (Adolph
The first of these meanings is clearly stated in

Hebrews 9:23-24: “It
was, therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should
be purified with these (i.e. sprinklings of blood see

Hebrews 9:21-22);
but the heavenly things themselves with bettor sacrifices than these. For
Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the
figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of
Clod for us.”
“The tabernacle was a symbol of God’s dwelling. There is a
Sanctuary, wherein is the especial residence and manifestation of
the glorious presence of God. Solomon, although he confesses that
the heaven of heavens cannot contain God, yet prays that the Lord
may hear in heaven His dwelling-place (2 Chronicles 6). Jeremiah
testifies, ‘A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of
our sanctuary’ (

17:12). The visions of Ezekiel also bring before
us the heavens opened and the likeness of a throne, and the
appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord; the likeness as
the appearance of a man above upon the throne (

1:26). Of this
heavenly locality David speaks, when he asks, ‘Who shall abide in
Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?’ (

Psalm 24:3).
In the book of Revelation we receive still further confirmation of
this truth: ‘And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the
tabernacle of testimony in Heaven was opened’ (

Almost all expressions which are employed in describing the
significance of the tabernacle are also used in reference to Heaven”
(A. Saphir)..331
Secondly, the Tabernacle is a type of the Lord Jesus Himself, particularly
of Him here on earth during the days of His flesh. Just as the Tabernacle
was Jehovah’s dwelling-place in the midst of Israel so are we told that
“God was in Christ reconciling a world unto Himself’ (

2 Corinthians
5:19); and again, “In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”

Colossians 2:9). Beautifully was this application of our type manifested
at the Incarnation. The Tabernacle was not something which originated in
the minds of Israel, or even of Moses. but was designed by God Himself.
So the Manhood of Christ, which enshrined His Deity, was not begotten by
man — “A body hast Thou prepared Me” (

Hebrews 10:5). He said.
This second aspect of the type will be developed more fully below.
But the tabernacle has yet a third aspect.
“There God and His people met. The ark of the covenant was not
merely the throne where God manifested Himself in His holiness,
but it was also the throne of relationship with His people. In all the
offerings and sacrifices God was manifested; just as regards sin,
merciful as regards the sinner; there also God and the sinner met.
So throughout the tabernacle there was the manifestation of God in
order to bring Israel into communion with Himself. In the
Tabernacle man’s fellowship with God was symbolized through
manifold mediations. sacrifices, offerings. But in Jesus we have the
perfect and eternal fulfillment” (A Saphir).
This third aspect of our type is more than hinted at in

Revelation 21:3:
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with
them, and thy shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with
them, and be their God.”
The key to the Tabernacle, then, is Christ. In the volume of the Book it is
written of Him. As a whole and in each of its parts the Tabernacle
foreshadowed the person and work of the Lord Jesus. Each detail in it
typified some aspect of His ministry or some excellency in His person.
Proof of this is furnished in

John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh and
tabernacled among us.” (R. V. margin). The reference here is to the Divine
incarnation and first advent of God’s Sea to this earth, and its language
takes us back to the book of Exodus. Many and varied are the
correspondences between the type and the anti-type. We take leave to
quote from our comments on

John 1:14..332
1. The Tabernacle was a temporary appointment. In this it differed from
the temple of Solomon, which was a permanent structure. The Tabernacle
was simply a tent, a temporary convenience, something that was suited to
be moved about from place to place during the journeyings of the children
of Israel. So it was when our blessed Lord tabernacled here among men.
His stay was but a brief one — less than forty years; and, like the type. He
abode not long in any one place, but was constantly on the move,
unwearied in the activity of His love.
2. The Tabernacle was for use in the wilderness. After Israel settled in
Canaan, the Tabernacle was superceded by the temple. But during the time
of the pilgrimage from Egypt to the promised land, the Tabernacle was
God’s appointed provision for them. The wilderness strikingly
foreshadowed the conditions amid which the eternal Word tabernacled
among men at His first advent. The wilderness-home of the Tabernacle
unmistakeably foreshadowed the manger-cradle, the Nazareth-carpenter’s
bench, the “nowhere for the Son of man to lay His head,” the borrowed
tomb for His sepulcher. A careful study of the chronology of the
Pentateuch seems to indicate that Israel used the Tabernacle in the
wilderness rather less than thirty-five years!
3. The Tabernacle was mean, humble, and unattractive in outward
appearance. Altogether unlike the costly and magnificent temple of
Solomon there was nothing in the externals of the Tabernacle to please the
carnal eye. Nothing but plain boards and skins. So it was at the
Incarnation. The Divine majesty of our Lord was hidden beneath a veil of
flesh. He came, unattended by any imposing retinues of angels. To the
unbelieving gaze of Israel He had no form or comeliness; and when they
beheld Him their unanointed eyes saw in Him no beauty that they should
desire Him.
4. The Tabernacle was God’s dwelling place. It was there, in the midst of
Israel’s camp, that He took up His abode. There, between the Cherubim.
upon the mercy-seat He made His throne. In the holy of holies He
manifested His presence by means of the Shekinah glory. And during the
thirty-three years that the Word tabernacled among men. God had His
dwelling-place in Palestine. The holy of holies received its anti-typical
fulfillment in the person of the Holy One of God. Just as the Shekinah
dwelt between the two Cherubim, so on the mount of transfiguration the.333
glory of the God-man flashed forth from between two men — Moses and
Elijah. “We beheld his glory “is the language of the tabernacle-type.
5. The Tabernacle was, therefore, the place where God met with man. It
was termed “the Tent of Meeting.” If an Israelite desired to draw near unto
Jehovah he had to come to the door of the Tabernacle. When giving
instruction to Moses concerning the making of the Tabernacle and its
furnishings, God said,
“And thou shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the ark, and in the
ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I
will meet with thee, awl I will commune with thee” (

How perfect is this lovely type! Christ is the meeting-place between God
and man. No man cometh unto the Father but by Him (

John 14:6).
There is but one Mediator between God and men — the Man Christ Jesus

1 Timothy 2:5). He is the One who spans the gulf between Deity and
humanity, because Himself both God and Man.
6. The Tabernacle was the center of Israel’s camp. In the immediate
vicinity of the Tabernacle dwelt the Levites the priestly tribe:
“But thou shalt appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of
testimony, and over all the vessels thereof; and over all things that
belong to it; they shall bear the tabernacle and all the vessels
thereof: and they shall minister unto it, and shall encamp round
about the tabernacle” (

Numbers 1:50);
and around the Levites were grouped the twelve, tribes, three on either
side — see Numbers 2.
Again; we read that when Israel’s camp was to be moved from one place
to another.
“then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with the
camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp” (

Numbers 2:17).
Once more,
“And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord
and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set.334
them round about the tabernacle. And the Lord came down in a
Cloud and spake unto him” (

Numbers 11:24-25).
How striking is this! The Tabernacle was the great gathering-center. As
such it was a beautiful foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus. He is our great
gathering-center, and His precious promise is that
“where two or three are gathered together in My name there am I
in the midst of them” (

Matthew 18:20).
7. The Tabernacle was the place where the Law was preserved. The first
two tables of stone, on which Jehovah had inscribed the ten
commandments were broken (

Exodus 32:19); but the second set were
deposited in the ark in the tabernacle for safe keeping (

10:2-5). It was only there, within the holy of holies, that the tablets of the
Law were preserved intact. How this, again, speaks to us of Christ! He it
was that said,
“Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me; I delight
to do Thy will, O My God: Yea, Thy Law is within My heart”

Psalm 40:8).
Throughout His perfect life He preserved in thought, word, and deed the
Divine Decalogue, honoring and magnifying God’s Law.
8. The Tabernacle was the place where sacrifice was made. In its outer
court stood the brazen altar, to which the animals were brought, and on
which they were slain. There it was the blood was shed and atonement was
made for sin. So it was with the Lord Jesus. He fulfilled in His own person
the typical significance of the brazen altar, as of every piece of the
tabernacle furniture. The body in which He tabernacled on earth was nailed
to the cruel Tree. The Cross was the altar upon which Pod’s Lamb was
slain, where His precious blood was shed, and where complete atonement
was made for sin.
9. The Tabernacle was the place where the priestly family was fed.
“And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with
unleavened bread shall it he eaten in the holy place; in the court of
the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it… The priest that
offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten”

Leviticus 6:16-26)..335
How deeply significant are these scriptures in their typical import! And
how they should speak to us of Christ as the Food of God’s priestly family
today, i.e, all believers (

1 Peter 2:5). He is the Bread of life. He is the
One upon whom our souls delight to feed.
10. The Tabernacle was the place of worship. To it the pious Israelite
brought his offerings. To it he turned when he desired to worship Jehovah.
From its door the voice of the Lord was heard. Within its courts the priests
ministered in their sacred service. And so it wins with the anti-type. It is by
Him we are to offer unto God a sacrifice of praise. (

Hebrews 13:15). It
is in Him, and by Him, alone, that we can worship the Father. It is through
Him we have access to the throne of grace.
11. The Tabernacle had but one door. Think of such a large building with
but a single entrance! The outer court, with its solid walls of white
curtains, was pierced by one gate only; telling us there is, but one way into
the presence of the holy God. How this reminds us of the words of that
One who said,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the
Father but by Me!”
Access can be obtained only through Him who declared “I am the Door”

John 10:9).
12. The Tabernacle was approached through the tribe of Judah, This is a
most striking detail not obvious at first sight, but which is clearly
established by a comparison of scripture with scripture. Numbers 2,
records the ordering of the twelve tribes of Israel as they were grouped
around the four sides of the Tabernacle, and verse 3 tells us that Judah was
to pitch on the east side. Now

Exodus 27:12-17 makes it clear that the
door of the Tabernacle wins also on the east side. Thus, entrance into the
Divine sanctuary was obtained through Judah. The significance of this is
easily discerned. It was through Judah that the true Tabernacle obtained
entrance into this world. Therefore is our Lord designated “the Lion of the
tribe of Judah.” (

Revelation 5:5).
13. The Tabernacle hints at the universal Lordship of Christ. This may be
seen from the fact that every kingdom in nature contributed its share
toward building and enriching the Tabernacle. The mineral kingdom
supplied the metals and the precious stones; the vegetable gave the wood,
linen, oil and spices; the animal furnished the skins and goats hair curtains,.336
in addition to the multitude of sacrifices which were constantly required.
How this reminds us of the words of Him whom the Tabernacle
foreshadowed,” The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine” (

Haggai 2:8);
and again, “The cattle upon a thousand hills are Mine” (

Psalm 50:10).
14. The Tabernacle was ministered unto by the Women. Their part was to
provide the beautiful curtains and hangings: “And all the women that were
wise-hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had
spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. And all
the women whose hearts stirred thorn up in wisdom spun goats’ hair”

Exodus 35:26). How beautifully this foreshadowed the loving devotion
of those women ‘mentioned in the Gospels who ministered to Christ of
their substance: see

Luke 7:37; 8:2-3;

John 12:3;

Luke 23:55-56.
Thus we see how fully and how perfectly the tabernacle of old
foreshadowed the person of our blessed Lord, and why the Holy Spirit,
when announcing the Incarnation, said, “And the Word became flesh and
tabernacled among us.” It should be pointed out that there is a series of
striking contrasts between the wilderness tabernacle and Solomon’s temple
in their respective foreshadowings of Christ.
(1) The tabernacle foreahadowed Christ in His first advent; the temple
looks forward to Christ at His second advent.
(2) The tabernacle was first historically; the temple was not built until
long afterwards.
(3) The tabernacle was but a temporary erection; the temple was a
permanent structure.
(4) The tabernacle was erected by Moses the prophet (which was the
office Christ filled during His first advent): the temple was built by
Solomon the king (which is the office Christ will fill at His second
(5) The tabernacle was used in the wilderness — speaking of Christ’s
humiliation; the temple was built in Jerusalem, the “city of the great
King” (

Matthew 5:35) — speaking of Christ’s future glorification.
(6) The numeral which figured most prominently in the tabernacle was
five, which speaks of grace, and grace was what characterized the
earthly ministry of Christ at His first advent; but the leading numeral in.337
the triple was twelve, which speaks of government, for at His second
advent Christ shall rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.
(7) The tabernacle was unattractive in its externals — so when Christ
was here before, He was as “a root out of a dry ground”: but the
temple was renowned for its outward magnificence — so Christ when
He returns shall come in power and great glory.
The careful reader will have noticed that there are two full accounts given
in Exodus of the construction of the Tabernacle. This is indeed
noteworthy, and evidences once more the accuracy and fullness of the
type. First we have a description of the Tabernacle and its furniture as it
was given to Moses in the Mount directly by Jehovah Himself. Then, as a
parenthesis, in chapters 32, 33, we have the record of Israel’s transgressing
the holy covenant in the sin of idolatry. Finally, from chapters 35 to the end
of the book we have the actual erection of the Tabernacle. What was
foreshadowed by this we shall now endeavor to indicate.
First, there is the tabernacle as it was originally planned in Heaven anal
then shown as a pattern to Moses on the Mount. What did this adumbrate
but Christ set forth from eternity in the counsels of the Godhead? The
great Sacrifice was no afterthought on the part of God. He was not taken
by surprise, nor was His eternal purpose interfered with when Adam
transgressed His commandment. The Lamb was “foreordained before the
foundation of the world” (

1 Peter 1:20)! Then in Jehovah showing to
Moses the pattern of the Tabernacle which was to be erected, we have
prefigured the successive types and prophecies which God gave to His
people before His Son became incarnate. Just as Moses later built the
Tabernacle according to the actual model which God had shown him
during the forty days on the Mount, so Christ was born, lived and died, in
exact accord with the prophetic plan which God gave during the forty
centuries that preceded.
Second, in chapters 32 and 33 we are introduced to a dark interval of
rebellion, when Israel sinned grievously against their Divine Benefactor.
How accurately this depicts the fall and failure of man during the whole of
the Old Testament period, and how it witnessed to the need of that
redemption which God, in His marvellous grace, had prepared!
“Christ had been already provided, but man must feel the need of
the Divine salvation by the actual experience of sin. It is touching.338
beyond degree to know that all the time that man was rebelling
against God, God’s remedy was waiting in that mount of grace”
(Christ in the Tabernacle, by A. B. Simpson).
Despite Israel’s fearful transgression in the interval, the Tabernacle was
erected; even so the fearful wickedness of men and all their countless
abominations did not turn God from His purpose of mercy. When the
fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son. Where sin abounded,
grace did much more abound.
Third, in the last six chapters we have the inspired record of the actual
erection of the Tabernacle. Here we see the counsels of God perfectly
executed, and most striking is it to note the provision He made for carrying
out His design of a sanctuary. In

35:30-31, we read,
“And Moses said unto the children of Israel. See, the Lord hath
called by name Bezeleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe
of Judah; and he hath filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom,
in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of
Thus we learn that it was by, the gracious agency of the Spirit of God that
the Tabernacle was brought into existence! What anointed eye can fail to
see here that which made possible and actual the Divine incarnation,
namely, the supernatural operations of the Spirit of God — see

1:34-35! And how remarkable (and yet not remarkable) that the instrument
used belonged to the tribe of Judah: so Mary was of the royal stock! Thus,
in type and anti-type, the Divine plan was secured through the operations
of the Spirit of God. Thus, also, do we see all the three persons of the
Godhead in connection with the Tabernacle.
How unspeakably blessed is the word recorded in

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation and the glory of
the Lord filled the Tabernacle.”
Mean as was the outward appearance of that Tent, yet within, abode the
Divine glory. So it was with the Antitype. When He appeared before men,
He had “no form nor comeliness” (

Isaiah 5:2). yet in Him dwelt all the
fullness of the Godhead bodily..339
What has been said above in no wise conflicts with the closing paragraphs
of the preceding article. David was inspired to write “Thy commandment is
exceeding broad” (

Psalm 119:96). Well, had it been if expositors and
commentators had borne this more in mind. There is not only a depth, but
also a fullness to the Scriptures which are worthy of their Divine Author.
God’s Word is many-sided in its application. Some times a single parable
(that of the Sower, for example) contains important practical lessons,
doctrinal instruction, a prophetic forecast and a dispensational picture.
How many of the prophecies, perhaps all of them have a double — a minor
and a major, a germinal and a terminal — and sometimes a threefold
fulfilment. Thus it is also with the types. Some Old Testament characters
are equally types of Christ, of Israel, and of the Christian. So with the
Tabernacle: many of its details have more than one typical significance.
May the Holy Spirit be our Teacher as we endeavor to take them up..340

EXODUS 25:1-9
The neglect of typology and the ignorance which prevails today concerning
the spiritual significance of the Tabernacle is one of the many solemn signs
of the times. The pyramids of Egypt and the catacombs of Rome are never-failing
objects of interest. The ancient abbeys of England and the temples
of heathendom attract thousands every year from the ends of the earth, to
admire their architectural designs and to study their historical features. But
the Tabernacle of Jehovah, which possesses a charm and a claim unknown
to any other building is, like its antitype, despised and rejected of men.
True, it is no longer to be seen on earth in concrete form, yet a Divinely-inspired
and detailed account of it has been given to us in the Holy
Scriptures. But so widely is the study of typology neglected, comparatively
few among the great masses of professing Christians know anything of the
Divine wonders and spiritual beauties in which the closing chapters of
Exodus abound.
In our day even students of theology leave those fruitful fields to glean
elsewhere. Many of them are wasting their time reading through almost
countless volumes treating of the authorship of the Pentateuch, instead of
poring over the sacred pages themselves. They prefer to wade through the
polluted streams which the higher critics have digged, rather than drink
from the pure river of the Water of Life. Even where the Divine inspiration
of the books of Moses is accepted, comparatively few are occupied with
their deeper teachings and blessed foreshadowings. Alas that it is so.
“The typical portions of Scripture are supremely important and as a
study vastly interesting. Types are shadows. Shadows imply
substance. A type has its lessons. It was the design of Jehovah to
express His great thought of redemption to His people Israel in a
typical or symbolic manner. By laws, ceremonies, institutions,
persons and incidents, He sought to keep alive in Israel’s hearts the
hope of a coming Redeemer. Christ is therefore the key to Moses’.341
gospel. This then is our advantage, that we can minutely compare
type and antitype, and learn thereby the lessons of grace which
bringeth salvation” (“Shadow and Substance,” by G. Needham).
In our last article we dwelt upon the typical purport of the Tabernacle; here
we shall say a few words concerning its doctrinal lessons. One of the chief
values which the closing sections of Exodus possesses to the true people of
God is that there we have set before us Divine illustrations, concrete
representations, vivid pictures of the fundamental verities connected with
our “great salvation.” God, in His infinite condescension, graciously
adapted His instructions to the spiritual intelligence of His children. An
abstract statement of truth is much harder to apprehend than a visible
representation of it to the eye. Just as in natural things a child is able to
grasp the meaning of pictures before it learns to spell and to read, so God
has first given us a full description of the Tabernacle and all its contents,
setting before the eye that which is found in the N.T. Epistles in the form
of doctrinal expositions. Thus by means of material symbols we are
assisted to understand the better the riches of God’s grace in Christ our
The Tabernacle — the materials of which it was composed; the seven
pieces of furniture, the priesthood who ministered therein, the offerings and
sacrifices — is to be regarded as one great object-lesson, setting forth
spiritual truth. For this reason, among others, was it designated “the Tent
of the Testimony” (

Numbers 9:15). There, witness was borne of “good
things to come” (

Hebrews 10:1). There, was proclaimed the holiness
and majesty of the great Jehovah. There, were set forth the terms of
communion with Him. There, was revealed the way of approach by blood-shedding.
There, was exhibited the imperative need of a Divinely-appointed
Mediator. There, was shown the efficacy of atonement by the sacrifice of
an innocent victim in the room of the guilty. There, was established the
Mercy-seat, from which God communed with the representative of His
Our great difficulty in seeking to interpret the portions of Scripture which
now lie before us is the multitude of the revelations contained therein. By
means of the Tabernacle Jehovah revealed His character and made known
His purpose of redemption. There, devouring holiness and righteous
indignation against sin declared the fact that God was Just even while He
Justified. The Tabernacle was the place of sacrifice; its most vivid spectacle.342
was the flowing and sprinkling of blood, pointing forward to the sufferings
and death of Christ. It was also the place of cleansing; there was the blood
for atonement and also the water for washing away the stains of
defilement. So Christ
“loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify
and cleanse it, with the washing of water by the Word; that He
might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or
wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without
blemish” (

Ephesians 5:25-27).
The Tabernacle had inner chambers, setting forth the fullness of those
blessings which the believer has in Christ. In them was light, bread, and the
altar of prayer — all finding their anti-typical fulfillment in our blessed
Probably the outstanding lesson taught us through the Tabernacle was the
way in which a sinner might approach God. First of all, he was most
forcibly reminded that sin had separated him from God. The Tabernacle
was God’s dwelling-place, and it was enclosed, being encircled by walls of
pure white curtains. This at once taught Israel the holiness of the One who
had come to dwell in their midst; they were shut out and He was shut in.
Their sinfulness unfitted them to enter His holy presence. O my reader,
have you ever pondered the Ineffable holiness of God, and realized that
your sins have placed you at a guilty distance from Him?
But though the sanctuary of Jehovah was enclosed, there was a door
through which the Israelite might enter the outer court, though further he
might not advance. There, within the outer court, stood the Tabernacle
proper, with its two compartments, surrounded by walls of wooden
boards, and only the priests were allowed therein, and they but in the first
chamber — the holy place. Beyond, lay the holy of holies, where the
Shekinah glory, the visible representation of God’s presence, resided
between the cherubim on the mercy-seat. Into this compartment none ever
entered save Moses the mediator, and Aaron the high priest one day in the
Marvellous is the progressive order of teaching in connection with the
various objects in the Tabernacle. At the brazen altar sin was judged, and
by blood-shedding put away. At the laver purification was effected. In the
holy place provision was made for prayer, food and illumination; while in.343
the holy of holies the glory of the enthroned King was displayed. The same
principle of progress is also to be seen in the increasing value of the sacred
vessels. Those in the outer court were of wood and brass; whereas those in
the inner compartments were of wood and gold. So too the various
curtains grew richer in design and embellishment, the inner vail being the
costliest and most elaborate. Again, the outer court, being open, was
illumined by natural light; the holy place was lit up by the light from the
golden candlestick; but the holy of holies was radiated by the Shekinah
glory of Jehovah. Thus the journey from the outer court into the holy of
holies was from sin to purification, and from grace to glory. How blessedly
did this illustrate the truth that
“the path of the Just is as the shining light, that shineth more and
more unto the perfect day” (

Proverbs 4:18).
The order in which the Tabernacle and its contents are described is most
significant. The first thing mentioned is the ark (

25:10) and its covering
— the mercy-seat (

25:17), which was Jehovah’s throne in Israel’s
midst. Then comes the table (

25:23) and the candlestick (

25:31), the
curtains (

26:1), and boards (

26:15) of the Tabernacle proper, with
the separating veil (

26:31). Last comes the brazen altar (

27:1) and
the hangings of the court (

27:9). Thus it will be seen that the order is
from the interior to the exterior. It is the order of sovereign grace, God
coming from His throne right to the outer door where the sinner was! How
this reminds us of the Incarnation; the sinner in his sins could not go from
earth to heaven, so God in the person of His Son came from heaven to
earth, and died the Just for the unjust “that He might bring us to God (

Peter 3:18). Blessedly was this emphasized by Christ in His teaching — the
Shepherd going after the lost sheep (

Luke 15:4), the good Samaritan
journeying to where the wounded traveler lay (

Luke 10:33), etc.
“In describing the things that pertain to worship, He commences with the
most precious type of all — the breast-plate the high priest wore on his
heart (

28:4) and ends with the laver of brass in which Aaron’s sons
were to wash their hands and feet daily (

30:18). It is thus too in the
book that takes up the sacrifices — Leviticus. It commences not with the
offerings for sins, but the highest form of all — the burnt offering

Leviticus 2:1). God’s glory must be the first object to be established by
the work of Christ, and then our need met (Leviticus 4). But that which we
first apprehend is surely that which meets our need in the sin-offering. And.344
the vast difference in the ancient and it is often years before we understand
that it is a “sweet savor” sacrifice that met the need of God’s heart and
established His glory” (Mr. C. H. Bright in “Pictures of Salvation”).
It is very striking to note that in the second description of the Tabernacle,
where we have the record of its manufacture and erection, there is a
notable variation — instead of beginning with the contents of the holy of
holies where Jehovah dwelt, we have described the Tabernacle and curtains
of the outer court, which the common people saw. Here the order is from
without to within — the experimental order, the order in which Divine
truth is apprehended by the soul. This same twofold order may be seen in
the Epistles to the Romans and Ephesians. In the former, the Holy Spirit
begins with man’s sinfulness, guiltiness, and ruin; goes on to speak of
God’s provision in Christ, and then closes the doctrinal section by showing
us the redeemed sinner in the presence of God, from whom there is no
separation. In Ephesians the Spirit begins with God’s eternal counsels,
choosing us in Christ before the foundation of the world, and then treats of
redemption and regeneration and the consequent privileges and
responsibilities flowing therefrom. In Romans it is the sinner going in to
God; in Ephesians, God coming out the sinner. Such is the double teaching
in the twofold order of the description of the Tabernacle.
Before Jehovah gave instructions to Moses concerning the various articles
in the Tabernacle, He first ordered him to require of Israel as an offering,
the different materials out of which they were to be made.
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children
of Israel that they bring Me an offering: of every man that giveth it
willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering”

Exodus 25:1-2).
Very beautiful is this. The materials out of which the Tabernacle was to be
made were to be provided by the voluntary offerings of devoted hearts.
The great Jehovah who inhabiteth the praises of eternity condescended to
take up His abode in a boarded and curtained Tent, erected by those who
desired His presence in their midst (see

Historically, we may admire the fruit of God’s grace working in the hearts
of His redeemed so that they willingly offered the required materials. Their
offering was so spontaneous and full (see

35:21-29) that we are told,.345
“And they spake unto Moses, saying, the people bring much more
than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord
commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they
caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither
man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the
sanctuary, so the people were restrained from bringing. For the
stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too
much” (

But behind the historical we are to look for the spiritual, and behold here a
lovely type of the voluntariness and joy of the Lord Jesus, who freely and
gladly became flesh, thus providing God with a perfect Sanctuary as He
tabernacled among men!
“And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and
silver and brass; and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen;
and goats, and rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers skins; and shittim
wood; oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet
incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the
breastplate” (v. 3-7).
Each of these articles tells forth one of the manifold perfections of Christ.
The gold, His Divine glory. The silver, the redemption which He wrought
and bought for us. The brass, His capacity to endure the wrath of God
against our sins. The blue, His heavenly origin. The purple, His royal
majesty. The scarlet, His earthly glory in a coming day. The fine linen, His
holiness made manifest by His righteous walk and ways. The goats’ hair,
His atonement. The rams’ skins, His devotedness to God. The badgers’
skins, His ability to protect His people. The shittim wood, His incorruptible
humanity. The oil for the light, His Divine wisdom. The spices, His
fragrance unto God. The precious stones, His priestly perfections. We do
not now offer proofs for these definitions nor enlarge upon their
blessedness, as, God willing, each one will come before us for fuller
consideration in the articles to follow.
With the above verses should be compared

Exodus 38:24-31, where the
Holy Spirit has given us the respective weights of the gold, silver and
brass. Careful students have estimated there would be fully a ton and a
quarter of gold, which at modern value would be worth upwards of one
hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds, or eight hundred and sixty
thousand dollars, but allowing for present-day purchasing values, worth.346
much more. Of silver there would be fully four tons and a quarter, and
worth forty thousand pounds or two hundred thousand dollars. Of brass
(more likely, copper) there was also over four tons. In addition, there were
the textile fabrics, blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen, besides goats’
hair, rams’ and badgers’ skins, and large quantities of shittim wood, the
amounts of which are not recorded. Last, but not least, were the precious
stones for the breastplate of the high priest. All of this indicates the great
costliness of the Tabernacle. At modern values its materials would be
worth at least a million pounds or five million dollars. How this, in type,
told of God’s estimate of Christ; how it shows us the Father saying, This is
My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!
It is noteworthy that there were fifteen separate articles specified in the
above verses, the factors of which are three and five — almost every
numeral connected with the Tabernacle was a division or multiple of one of
these. Now three is the number of manifestation and therefore of God — in
the three Persons of the Trinity. Five is the number of grace. Putting these
together, fifteen signifies, in the language of spiritual arithmetic, God’s
grace manifested. How eminently suited were these numerals as the
predominating ones in that dwelling-place of God which pointed forward
to His incarnate Son! It was in Christ, come to earth, that the grace of God
was fully made known. How this shows us, again, that there is a deep
meaning to the minutest detail of Holy Writ!
“And let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them”
(v. 8).
Here is the leading feature to bear in mind concerning the Tabernacle: it
was to be Jehovah’s “sanctuary,” God’s dwelling-place. It is important to
observe that it was not until He had redeemed a people unto Himself that
God dwelt amid them on the earth. He visited Adam in Eden, He appeared
to and communed with the patriarchs, He gave communications to Moses
even in Egypt, but not until He had redeemed His people out of the house
of bondage, not until they had been separated from their enemies at the
Red Sea, not until His government over them had been established at Sinai,
did He propose the making of a sanctuary, in which He might dwell among
His saints.
The Tabernacle then was the pledge and proof that God had graciously
brought His redeemed people into relationship with Himself, yea, into a
place of nearness to Himself. So we, who once were (because of sin) far.347
off from Him, have been made nigh by the precious blood of Christ

Ephesians 2:13). The awful distance which once separated is now
gone; we have been brought “to God” (

1 Peter 3:18). O the wondrous
riches of Divine mercy! First bought by Christ, then sought by the Spirit,
and in consequence, brought to the Father; and that not as guilty criminals,
but as happy children. Blessedly is this illustrated at the close of that
wondrous parable In Luke 15. There we are shown that the one who had
wasted his substance in the far country, then convicted of his deep need
and brought to repentance, finally welcomed by the Father, fitted for His
presence and given a seat at His table.
But as at the marriage-feast in Cana of Galilee, the best wine is reserved
for the last.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and
the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sin. And I,
John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God
out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I
heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of
God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His
people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God”

Revelation 21:1-3).
“Then the counsels of God’s heart will be displayed in their
consummated perfection, and, inasmuch as the former things, with
all the sorrows connected with them through man’s sin, will have
passed away, there will be nothing to hinder the full, perfect, and
blessed enjoyment arising out of the unhindered flow of God’s
heart to His people, and their hearts to Him, and from His perfect
manifestation and their perfect worship and service” (Mr. Ed.
“According to all that I show thee. after the pattern of the
Tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof even so
shall you make it” (v. 9).
It is to be noted that Moses not only received implicit instructions as to
what materials the tabernacle was to be made from, and (as we shall see
later) complete details as to the dimensions, plan, and furnishings thereof;
but that a pattern or model was set before him, after which it was to be
constructed. That this is a point of importance for us to weigh is evident.348
from the number of times it is repeated in the Scriptures. No less than
seven times are we informed that Moses was commanded to make the
Sanctuary after the pattern of it which was shown him in the Mount — see

Exodus 25:9; 25:40; 26:30; 27:8;

Numbers 8:4;

Acts 7:44;

Hebrews 8:5. Nothing was left to man’s wisdom, still less to “chance”;
everything was to be in exact accordance with the Divine model. Does not
this teach us that everything concerning Christ and His people has been
wrought out according to the eternal purpose of Him who worketh all
things after the counsel of His own will! May Divine grace enable us to rest
there in perfect peace and Joyous worship..349

EXODUS 25:10-16
Of the seven pieces of furniture which were found in the Tabernacle the
Holy Spirit has described first the ark and the mercy-seat. Though these
two are intimately related, so intimately that together they formed one
complete whole — the mercy-seat being the cover or lid of the ark — yet
are they mentioned, and are therefore to be considered, separately. The ark
was a wooden chest, slightly over four feet in length and about two and a
half feet broad and high, The wood of which it was made was overlaid with
gold, both within and without, so that nothing save gold was visible to the
The great importance of the ark is clear from several considerations. When
Jehovah gave instructions to Moses concerning the Tabernacle, He began
with the ark. It was first in order because first in importance. Before any
details were communicated concerning the sanctuary itself, before a word
was told Moses about its court and chambers its priesthood and ritual, its
furniture and garniture, minute directions were given regarding the ark;
without the ark the whole service of the Tabernacle had been meaningless
and valueless, for it was upon it, as His throne, that God dwelt. The ark
was the object to which the brazen altar pointed, the sacrifice of which
gave right of access to the worshipper, who came to the ark
representatively in the person of the high priest. It was the first of the holy
vessels to be made and made by Moses himself (

Deuteronomy 10:1-5).
It was the place where the tables of the law were preserved. Its pre-eminence
above all the other vessels was shown in the days of Solomon,
for the ark alone was transferred from the tabernacle to the Temple.
“The ark was a symbol that God was present among His people, that His
covenant blessing was resting upon them. It was the most sacred and
glorious Instrument of the sanctuary; yea, the whole sanctuary was built for
no other end, but to be as it were a house, an habitation for the ark (see

Exodus 26:33). Hence sanctification proceeded unto all the parts of it;.350
for, as Solomon observed, the places were holy whereunto the ark of God

2 Chronicles 8:11” (A. Saphir). We shall consider the ark in
seven connections.
The ark typified the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is so obvious
that it is hardly necessary to pause and furnish proof. The other two arks
that of Noah, in which he and his family found shelter from the flood; and
that in which the infant Moses was preserved, plainly foreshadowed Christ
Himself. The fact that the ark of the covenant was composed of two
materials and of two only — the wood and the gold — clearly point to the
two natures of our Lord: the human and the Divine. The fact that the two
tables of stone were preserved in the ark, and the words of the Savior,
“Thy law is within My heart” (

Psalm 40:8) supply us with a sure key.
The fact that the mercy-seat (where God received the representative of His
sinful but blood-cleansed people) rested upon the ark furnishes additional
It is the typical significance of the ark which explains its pre-eminence over
the other sacred vessels. Each of them pointed to same aspect of Christ’s
work. or its effects, but the ark spoke of His person: they of what He has
done, this of what HE is. It is the blessed person of Christ which gave
value to His work. Today, in evangelical circles, the emphasis is placed on
what the Savior has done for us, rather than on what He is in Himself.
Scripture ever reverses this order. Note how in the typical ritual on the
annual day of atonement, the high priest first entered the holy of holies
with his hands full of sweet incense (

Leviticus 16:12), before he took in
and sprinkled the blood (v. 14) — God would first be reminded of the
fragrant perfections of Christ’s person, ere that which spoke of His
redemptive work was placed before Him! Mark the order in the
announcement of the Lord’s forerunner “Behold the Lamb of God” (first
His person) which taketh away (second His work) the sin of the world,”

John 1:29). So with the apostle Paul, “I determined not to know
anything among you save Jesus Christ (His person) and Him crucified” —
His work” (

1 Corinthians 2:2). So again, in the apocalyptic visions: ‘I
beheld…. and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb (His person) as it
had been slain” — His work (

Revelation 5:6). Thus it was in this order
of the Tabernacle furniture: first the ark which tells of Christ’s person, then
the mercy-seat, etc., which point to His work..351
The ark was made of “shittim wood,” a species of the acacia, which is said
by many to be imperishible. It is a tree which is found in the arid desert.
The “shittim wood,” grown here on earth, typified the humanity of our

Isaiah 53:2 speaks in the language of this type:
“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root
out of a dry ground.”
“There are three things about this shittim-tree which makes it a
peculiarly fitting as a type of this. It is the tree now called the
acacia seyal — the only tree that grows to any size in the deserts
through which Israel passed. First it is a tree that can thrive in a
very dry soil. Second, it has very long, sharp thorns Third, it is the
tree from which is obtained the gum arabic so largely used in
medicinal preparations, which is procured simply by piercing the
tree at nightfall, and that which oozes out is, without any
preparation, the gum-arabic of commerce. To the spiritual mind
these facts are sweetly suggestive of Him who, in a dry and thirsty
land, where surely there was naught to sustain His spirit, was in the
constant freshness of communion with God, for other than an
earthly stream sustained Him. Though indeed crowned now with
glory, a crown of thorns was all this world had for Him. And we
remember too that it was He who was pierced for us in that
blackest night of guilt, when the blood flowed forth from His side,
to be the only balm for the troubled soul and sin-burdened
conscience” (Mr. C. H. Bright).
As the shittiim-wood was one that never rotted, it was a most appropriate
emblem of the sinless humanity of the Lord Jesus. It is indeed striking to
find that in the Septuagint (the first translation ever made of the Old
Testament — into Greek) it is always translated “incorruptible wood.”
Now it is of paramount importance that we should hold fast and testify to
the fundamental truth conveyed by the “incorruptible wood,” namely, the
real but absolute untainted humanity of Christ. That Christ was truly Man
is clear from. His repeated use of the title “the Son of Man.” and from the
Holy Spirit’s appellation “the Man Christ Jesus” (

1 Timothy 2:5). But
His humanity was uncorrupt and incorruptible. In Him was no sin (

John 3:5) for He was the Holy One of God; and therefore disease and
death had no claim upon Him Begotten by the Holy Spirit, and born of a.352
virgin, His immaculate humanity was pronounced “that holy thing which
shall be born” (

Luke 1:45).
The wood of the ark was overlaid with gold within and without. This
perfigured His Divine nature.
“While the acacia boards gave form and dimensions to the ark, the
appearance was all gold — no wood was visible. Thus our Lord’s
hum-inanity gives Him the form in which He was and is, Light of
light, the Creator and Upholder of all things, He became a Man,
and was and is eternally ‘the Man Christ Jesus.’ But how God
guards us from having a single low view of this most lowly One.
The gold covers all Look at Him, gaze, as far as finite mind and
heart can, upon the majesty of His being, and all is Divine! The
Divine nature is displayed over the ‘form of a servant’ and
wherever the all-seeing eye of God rests, within that pure and holy
mind, affections and will, as well as without upon that blameless
walk, meekness and obedience, He owns Him as His Equal, His co-eternal
Son. It is all gold, though the form of the Servant was there,
with perfect human faculties and dependence — everything that
belongs to man, sin apart. But spread over all this is the gold of His
deity. And does not faith see the same?” (Lectures on the
Tabernacle by S. Ridout).
Thus, in the wood and the gold together forming the ark we have
foreshadowed the great mystery of godliness — God manifest in flesh.
Here we see, in symbol the union of the two natures in the God-man, a
Scriptural conception of whom is so important and vital — important, as
God has shown us by making the ark to be the first object of contemplation
as we take up the study of the Tabernacle; vital, because sound views of
Christ are inseparable from our very salvation:
“This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent” (

John 17:3).
The ark was two and a half cubits in length, one and a half in breadth, and
one and a half in height. The repeated half at once arrests attention. The
word “half” in the Hebrew comes from a root which means to cut in two.
Another has pointed out that these half cubits suggest that the knowledge.353
of Christ given to us now is only partial: “Now we know in part” (

Corinthians 13:9).
“Those who have the fullest knowledge of Christ are the first to
say, in the language of the Queen of Sheba, ‘it was a true report
that I heard.. and behold. the half was not told me’ (

1 Kings
10:6-7). So with our all-glorious Lord, the scale is reduced — may
we say? — that our finite minds may grasp something of the
wondrous fullness of that which passeth knowledge” (Mr. S.
Two and a half is half of five, and one and a half is half of three, and both
of these numbers have a meaning in Scripture which is deeply significant.
Take the latter first. Three is the number of manifestation, that is why it Is
the number of resurrection, for only in resurrection is life fully manifested;
for the sarape reason three is the number of Deity, for God is fully
manifested in the three persons of the Holy Trinity. How significant then
that the breadth and height (which both have to do with the display of an
object) of the ark were both half of three. Remembering that the ark speaks
of the person of Christ and three is the number of manifestation, do we not
find here more than a hint that when Christ came to the earth He would not
fully manifest Himself? Nor did He: Had He completely unveiled His glory
men had been blinded as was Saul of Tarsus (

Acts 9:8), or had fallen at
His feet as dead, as did John (

Revelation 1:17). But blessed be God we
shall yet “see Him as He is,” and then shall we eat of “the hidden Manna”

Revelation 2:17). So, too, with the other number. Five stands for
grace, and the length of the ark speaks of the span of God’s grace in
Christ. That span is eternal; but eternity is endless duration both backwards
and forwards. Therefore is the five halved for though believers now know
of the grace that was given them in Christ before the foundation of the
world (

2 Timothy 1:9), the endless ages yet to come await its future
display (

Ephesians 2:7).
It is to be noted that the ark measured, the same in height as in breadth,
which at once points to the perfections and uniqueness of Christ. The
“breadth” would speak of Him in His dealings with man, the “height” His
relations Godward. How far our spiritual height falls short of our breadth!
For example how much more cautious are we against displeasing our
fellows than God! Not so with the Perfect One. In meeting the needs of
men, He never lost sight of the claims of His Father: Mark how in.354
responding to the appeal of Lazarus’ sisters, the glory of the Father was
His only motive and consideration (

John 11:4-6).
These are described in

Hebrews 9:4:
“The ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein
was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded,
and the tables of the covenant.”
Some have seen a contradiction between this verse and

1 Kings 8:9:
“There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone.” But there is no
conflict between the two passages, for they are not treating of the same
point in time.

Hebrews 9:4 is speaking of what was in the ark during the
days that it was lodged in the Tabernacle, whereas

1 Kings 8:9 tells us
of what comprised its contents after it came to rest in the Temple. Thus we
see how quickly disappears one of the stock ‘contradiction’ arguments of
The distinction noted above between what was inside the ark during its
respective sojourns in the Tabernacle and in the Temple supplies the key to
the typical significance of its contents. The three articles specified in

Hebrews 9:4 point to God’s provisions in Christ while they are
Journeying through the wilderness, This becomes abundantly clear when
we consider the first thing named, “the golden pot that had manna.” The
manna was the food which Jehovah gave to Israel while they were
Journeying from the house of bondage to the promised inheritance. It
foreshadowed Christ as the Bread of life, the food of His pilgrim people.
But most blessed is the added word here. In

Exodus 16:3, we simply
read that Moses said unto Aaron “take a pot and put an omer full of manna
therein and lay it up before the testimony, to be kept; whereas in

Hebrews 9:4, the Spirit tells us it was “a golden pot.” The Old
Testament could not give us that. it is reserved for the New Testament to
bring it out. The Manna was the grace of God meeting the need of His
people in the wilderness. Now while the Old Testament makes it plain that
Israel’s deepest need would be met through the promised Messiah, yet it
was by no means clear that the Messiah would be a member of the
Godhead; rather was the emphasis thrown upon the fact that He was to be
the seed of Abraham and of David. But with the New Testament before us,
we have no difficulty in perceiving that naught but a vessel which was holy.355
and Divine was adequate to hold what God had for fleetly sinners and that
that vessel was no other than His beloved Son incarnate. It is in John’s
Gospel, particularly, that we get the truth of the “golden pot.” There we
see the Vessel which was capable of holding the grace of God for His
people: “full of grace and truth” is found only in John!
There is no doubt, an additional thought connected with the golden pot,”
which contained the manna. The amount stored therein was “one omer”
which, as we learn from

Exodus 16:16, was the quantity for each man.
Thus the amount preserved was the measure of a man; but the golden pot
which contained it tells us that this Man is now glorified, the same thought
being found in the “crown of gold which was round about the ark.” This is
confirmed by a comparison of

Exodus 25:18 with

Hebrews 9:5
where the cherubim of “gold” are called the cherubim of “glory.” It is,
then, in the Man Christ Jesus, now crowned with glory and honor, that
God’s food for His people is to be found. Just as in another type, when the
famine stricken people came to Pharaoh for corn, he referred them to the
once humbled, but then exalted Joseph.
The second article within the ark was “Aaron’s rod that budded.” This
takes us back to Numbers 17 where we have the historical account of it. In
Numbers 16, we read of a revolt against Moses and Aaron headed by
Korah, a revolt occasioned by jealously at the authority God had delegated
to His two servants. This revolt was visited by summary judgment from on
High, and was followed by a manifest vindication of Aaron. The form that
this vindication took is most interesting and instructive. The Lord bade
Moses take twelve rods, one for each tribe, writing Aaron’s name on the
rod for Levi. These rods were laid up before the ark and the one that
should be made to blossom would indicate which had been chosen of God
to be the priestly tribe. Next morning it was found that Aaron’s rod had
“brought forth buds, and blossomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.”
Afterwards, the Lord ordered Moses to bring Aaron’s rod before the
testimony “to be kept for a token against the rebels.” The spiritual and
typical significance of this we shall now endeavor to indicate.
The issue raised by Korah and his company was that of priestly ministry —
who had the right to exercise it? In deciding this issue the tribal rods
(symbols of authority) were laid up before the Lord, to show that the
matter was taken entirely out of the hands of man and was to be decided by
God alone. Thus the question of the priesthood was determined solely by.356
Jehovah. The manner in which God’s mind was made known on this
momentous point is very striking. The “rods” were all of them lifeless
things, but during the interval that they were laid up before the testimony,
unseen by the eye of man, the mighty power of the living God intervened, a
miracle was wrought, the dead rod was quickened, and resurrection-life
and fruit appeared.
The spiritual eye will have no difficulty in perceiving what all of this
pointed forward to. Numbers 16 foreshadowed Israel’s rebellion against
Him, whom Moses and Aaron jointly perfigured. Moses, the prophet
proclaimed the truth of God; Aaron the priest, expressed His grace; both
were hated without a cause. So He who was full of grace and truth was
despised and rejected of men; not only so but put to a shameful death. And
what was God’s response? He fully vindicated His beloved Son by raising
Him from the dead. Moses entering the Tabernacle on the morrow

Numbers 17:8) and there beholding the evidences of God’s
resurrection power, reminds us of the disciples entering the empty
sepulcher and beholding the signs that Christ had risen from the dead.
Moses bringing out the rods and showing them to the people (v. 9), finds
its antitype in the resurrection of Christ established before many witnesses

1 Corinthians 15:6). In the rod laid up before the Lord, we have a
picture of Christ, now hidden, at the right hand of God.
But it is with the rod in the ark that we now have to do. All that was in the
ark speaks of the wondrous provision which God has made for His people
in Christ. Now what is before us in Numbers 17, is not God dealing in
judgment, but in grace: “And the Lord said unto Moses. Bring Aaron’s rod
again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and
thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from Me that they die not.”
Thus, the priestly ministry of Aaron Was to preserve God’s people before
Him while they were passing through the wilderness. How plain is the type.
That which answers to it is found in the ministry of our great High Priest in
heaven, who secures our salvation to the uttermost by His constant
intercessions for us (

Hebrews 7:25). Here, then, is God’s provision for
us in Christ: food to strengthen, priestly grace to sustain.
One other point remains to be considered in connection with Aaron’s rod.

Hebrews 9:4, it is referred to simply as “Aaron’s rod that budded”
whereas in

Numbers 17:8, we are told that it “brought forth buds and
blossomed blessings, and yielded almonds.” We believe that the omission in.357

Hebrews 9:11 of the latter part of this statement is infest significant.

Numbers 17:8 refers to resurrection-life in three stages, all, of course
pointing to Christ. We would suggest that the “budding” of the rod found
its fulfillment in the resurrection of Christ Himself; that the “blossomed
blossoms” will receive its realization in the resurrection of “them that are
Christ’s at His coming”; while the “yielded almonds” points forward to the
raising of Israel from the dead who shall then fill the earth with fruit. As the
“blossoming” and the “yielding almonds” is yet future, the Holy Spirit has
most appropriately omitted these in

Hebrews 9:4.
The third thing in the ark was the two tables of stone on which were
written the ten commandments. The reader will recall that the Lord gave to
Moses on two separate occasions tables of stone engraved by His own
finger. The first ones Moses dashed to the ground when he beheld the
idolatry of the people (Exodus 32), thereby intimating that fallen man is
unable to keep the law. But God’s counsels cannot be thwarted, neither
will He abate the requirements of His righteousness:
“At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone
like unto the first, and carrie up unto Me into the Mount, and make
thee an ark of wood. And I will write in the tables the words that
were in the first tables which thou breakest, and thou shalt put them
in the ark” (

Deuteronomy 10:1-2).
The second set of tables of stone were deposited in the ark. The careful
student will observe a notable omission in the above quotation from

Deuteronomy 10:1-2, an omission emphasized by its repetition in the
next verse — “And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables
of stone.” Nothing is said of the wood being overlaid with gold, nor of the
cherubim of glory on its cover. It is simply said that the two tables of stone
were to be placed in “an ark of wood.” The law which fallen man had
broken was to be preserved intact by the perfect Man, It was as “the
second Man, the Last Adam” that Christ “magnified the law and made it
honorable” (

Isaiah 42:21). How perfect is every jot and tittle of
Scripture, even in its omissions!
The fulfillment of this aspect of our type is given in Psalm 40 where,
speaking by the Spirit of prophecy, our glorious Surety exclaimed,.358
“Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight
to do Thy will O My God yea Thy law is within My heart” (vv.

7, 8).
The blesses Substitute of God’s elect was “made under the law”

Galatians 4:4), and perfectly did He “fulfill” it (

Matthew 5:17).
Therefore is it written
“By the obedience of One shall many be made righteous”

Romans 5:19),
Christ has answered every requirement of God’s law for His people. He
has fully discharged all their creature responsibilities. In Christ, as our type
plainly shows, and in Christ alone, is found that obedience which meets
every demand of God’s throne. Therefore may each believer joyfully
exclaim “In the Lord have I righteousness” (

Isaiah 45:24). Thus can the
whole ransomed Church hail its covenant Head as “The Lord our
Righteousness” (

Jeremiah 23:6).
In our next paper, God willing, we shall ponder the coverings of the ark, its
various names and its remarkable history. In the meantime may the Holy
Spirit occupy both writer and reader, more and more, with Him whom the
ark typified..359
As the Ark is singled out from the seven pieces of furniture in the
Tabernacle for special sanctity and prominence, and as so much more is
recorded about its history than that of any of the other holy vessels, we felt
it needful to devote two articles to its consideration. In the preceding one
we pondered its importance; its significance, its materials, its dimensions
and its contents. In this we shall deal with its coverings, its varied names or
titles, and its remarkable career. May the Holy Spirit, whose office it is to
take of the things of Christ and show them to His people, graciously
enlighten our sin-darkened understandings and draw out our hearts in
adoring worship to Him whom the Ark so strikingly perfigured.
The actual cover or lid of the Ark was the mercy-seat, but it is not of this
we shall now treat, as that will be the object of contemplation in the next
article. The coverings of the Ark which we shall here notice are those
which protected it as it was borne from place to place dining the
journeyings of Israel. These are suitably mentioned in Numbers — the
Wilderness book. In

Numbers 4:5, 6, we read,
“And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his
sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the Ark
of testimony with it: And shall put thereon the covering of badgers”
skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put
in the staves thereof.”
First, the Ark was wrapped in the “covering veil” — the most precious of
all the curtains. The veil, as we learn from

Hebrews 10:20, typified the
perfect humanity of Christ, rent for His people by the hand of God. This
tells us that when God the Son was here in this wilderness-world His
Divine glory was hidden from the eyes of men by His flesh, He who was in
the form of God having taken upon Himself, the form of a servant..360
Second, over the covering veil was placed “the covering of badgers’
skins.” Unlike the skins of other animals, the lion, tiger, or leopard, the
badger’s is quite unattractive. In

Ezekiel 16:10 we read of badgers’
skins for making sandals, hence when used symbolically they would speak
of lowliness. In our present type the badgers’ skins tell of our Lord’s
humiliation, particularly that aspect of it from which nature turns away,
saying, “He hath no form or comeliness, and when we shall see Him there
is no beauty that we should desire Him”; but an aspect which those who
through sovereign grace are in communion with Him, ever recognize as
that which fills them with adoring love.
Third, the external covering of the Ark was “a cloth wholly of blue” —
this alone being seen by men as the Ark was carried through the wilderness
from place to place. It was this which distinguished the Ark, once more,
from the other vessels, for all of them had the badgers’ skins for their outer
covering. Why, then, was the cloth of blue the external garment of the
Ark? Blue is the color of heaven and is ever employed for the setting forth
of celestial things. All heavenly things are not suitable for testimony to the
world, but Christ as the God-man is to be borne witness to before all!
“His name shall be called Wonderful” (

Isaiah 9:6) was the language of
Messamiac prophecy, and strikingly was this foreshadowed by the different
titles of the Ark. They are seven in number, and are wonderful for their
variety, dignity and sublimity.
First, the ark was termed “the ark of the Testimony” (

Exodus 25:22).
This is the name by which it is most frequently called. It was thus
designated because it was there that the “two tables of testimony”

31:18) were deposited for safe keeping. The Ark was given this
appellation because it testified to the holiness and grace, the majesty and
condescension of Jehovah. It was so denominated because Christ, to whom
the Ark pointed, is the Center of all God’s counsels.
Second, the Ark was called “the ark of the covenant” (

Numbers 10:33).
This brings before us a most blessed though math neglected subject, upon
which we feign would linger, but must not. Christ is expressly termed the
“Surety of a better testament”‘ or covenant” (

Hebrews 7:23); of which
He is also the Mediator (

Hebrews 9:6). This covenant is one into which
He entered before the foundation of the world (

Hebrews 13:20), a.361
covenant “ordered in all things and sure” (

2 Samuel 23:5); a covenant in
which Christ agreed to discharge all the obligations and responsibilities of
His people.
Third, the Ark was named “the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth”

Joshua 3:15). This title was used just after Israel had crossed the
Jordan, when the unconquered land of Canaan lay before them. It was, at
that time, filled with enemies. But there was the symbol and word of
assurance — the Ark which went before them was the Ark of the Lord of
all the earth. The anti-typical fulfillment of this is yet future. When Christ
returns He will find the inheritance occupied with usurpers. But a short
work will He make of them: the enemy will be ejected and His own throne
securely established —

Zechariah 14:9!
Fourth, the Ark was denominated “the Ark of God” (

1 Samuel 3:3).
This is very striking. God never identified Himself with any of the other
vessels of the sanctuary. But how appropriate that He should do so with
that which, in a special way, symbolized the person of Christ, How this title
of the Ark pointed to the absolute Deity of Him who was made in the
likeness of men.
Fifth, the Ark was entitled “the Ark of the Lord God” (

1 Kings 2:26)
— in the Hebrew, “Adonai Jehovah.” “Adonai” always has reference to
headship, and to God’s purpose of blessing. “Jehovah” is God in covenant
relationship. The connection in which this particular name of the Ark
occurs is most interesting and blessed. The first chapter of King’s records a
conspiracy at the close of David’s reign, to prevent Solomon securing the
throne. The second chapter tells how the conspirators and their abettors
were dealt with after Solomon came to the throne: Adonijah and Joab were
slain, but Abiather, the priest, was spared because he had borne the Ark.
Sixth, the Ark was designated “the holy Ark” (

2 Chronicles 35:3). It
was so spoken of by king Josiah, in whose days mere was a blessed revival
of true godliness. Preceding his reign there had been a long period of awful
declension and apostasy, and the Ark was no longer kept in the Temple,
therefore one of the first acts of Josiah was to give orders for the placing of
the holy Ark in the House which Solomon had built. How this shows us
that the holiness and majesty of Christ’s person is only appreciated when
God is working in power among His people!.362
Seventh, the Ark was spoken of as “the Ark of Thy strength” (

132:8). Lovely title was this. How it reminds us of that word: “I have laid
help upon One that is mighty” (

Psalm 89:19); and again, “Christ the
power of God,” “and the wisdom of God” (

1 Corinthians 1:24). Blessed
be His name, there is no feebleness in our Redeemer; all power in heaven
and earth is His. He is none other than “the mighty God” (

Isaiah 9:6). O
that His dear people may draw more and more from His fullness, proving
that His strength is made perfect in their weakness.
By its career we have particular reference to its journeyings and history.
Provision was duly made for the Ark to be carried while the Tabernacle
was being borne from one camping place to another.
“And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the
four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and
two rings in the other side of it. And thou shalt make staves of
shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put these
staves into the rings by the sides of the Ark, that the Ark may be
borne with them. The staves shall be in the rings of the Ark: they
shall not be taken from it” (

Exodus 25:12-15).
“This shows that God’s people were pilgrims in the wilderness,
Journeying on to the place which God had prepared for them. But
the time would come when the inheritance should be possessed,
and when the temple, suited in magnificence to the glory of the king
of Israel should be built. The staves, which in the desert were not to
be taken from the rings of the Ark, should then be withdrawn (

Chronicles 5:9), because the pilgrimage past, the Ark would, with
the people, have entered into its rest (

Psalm 132:8). The staves
in the rings, therefore, speak of Christ with His pilgrim host, as
being Himself with them in wilderness circumstances. It is Christ in
this world, Christ in all His own perfectness as man — Christ, in a
word, in all that He was as the revealer of God; for in truth, He was
the perfect presentation of God to man” (Mr. Ed. Dennett).
Before we attempt to trace the actual career of the Ark, there is one other
point to be considered concerning its history, namely, that before its
journeyings commenced it was anointed. This is recorded in

30:26, “And thou shalt anoint the Tabernacle of the congregation.363
therewith, and the Ark of the Testimony.” The antitype is presented to us

Acts 10:38:
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with
power: who went about doing good and healing all that were
oppressed of the devil.”
Notice the “anointing” of the Savior occurred before He “went about doing
good,” just as the anointing of the Ark preceded its travels. The anointing
of our Redeemer with the Holy Spirit took place at His baptism when, at
the solemn inauguration of His public ministry, the Spirit came upon Him
in the form of a dove (Matthew 3).
(1) “And they departed from the mount of the Lord three days’
journey and the Ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them
in the three days’ Journey, to search out a resting place for them”

Numbers 10:33).
Very blessed and beautiful is this. Lovely type was it of the Good Shepherd
going before His sheep (

John 10:4), leading them into the green
pastures and beside the still waters. But the preciousness of the type here
will be lost unless we attend to the context — note the “and” at the
beginning of

Numbers 10:33!
First, mark

Numbers 9:18-20, where we have a notable instance of
God’s grace, and faithfulness in providing Israel with the cloud to guide
them, intimating when they were to move and when to stop.
Second, observe the failure of Moses. Forgetful of the Lord’s promise to
guide them, he desired to lean upon the arm of flesh, and said to his father-in-
“Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are
to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of
eyes” (

Alas, what is man, even the best among men!
Third, beautiful is it to see how mercifully the Lord intervened: the Ark
was now to go before Israel as their guide — type of Christ as the Leader
of His pilgrim people. As another has said, “In the path Homeward, the
brightest human eyes and the keenest human wisdom are absolutely of no.364
avail.” The “three days’ Journey” Intimate that it is on resurrection-ground
that the Lord directs His people.
(2) “But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the
Ark of the covenant of the Lord and Moses departed not out of the
camp” (

Numbers 14:44).
The whole of this chapter is very solemn, recording as it does the Judgment
of God, which would descend upon a people who feared to follow the
counsel of Caleb and Joshua. But the people believed not the Divine
warning, and next morning, feeling the folly of their timidity on the
previous day, determined to go up, and, in their own strength, disposes the
enemy. Nevertheless the Ark and Moses departed not out of the camp.
Therefore we need not be surprised at what follows:
“Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt
in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto
Hormah” (v. 45).
What a solemn warning is this for us today: unless the Lord Himself is
leading us, when we act simply in the energy of the flesh, failure and
disaster are the sure consequence.

Joshua 3:5 to 17. This passage is too long for us to quote here,
but let the student please turn to it and read it carefully ere he proceeds
with our comments. Here we see Israel crossing the Jordan and the Ark
going before them to open up a way through its waters. Though
Israel’s journey across the wilderness was one long record of unbelief,
murmuring and rebelling, the Ark still continued to guide them, and
now that the promised land was spread before their eyes conducted
them into it. Blessed type was this of the marvellous and matchless
long-suffering of God, who, notwithstanding all the sins and miserable
failures of His people, has promised, “I will never leave thee nor
forsake thee.”
The Jordan is the river of Judgment and a figure of death. The Ark of the
Lord’s presence entering Jordan, dividing its waters for Israel to pass over
dry-shod, is a type of the Lord Jesus suffering death for His people.
“The fact that the Ark of the Lord had passed before them into
Jordan and that its waters had dried up before it, was to be proof
positive that the Lord would drive out all their enemies before.365
them: the fact that Jesus entered death for us, received its sting,
tasted what real death as the wages of sin is, exhausted its
bitterness, is also certain proof to us that no enemy can ever
prevent our final entrance into and enjoyment of the Heavenly
Canaan. And this fact is of fullest blessing. The king of terrors is
disarmed for us; he is powerless that had the power of death, and
those are delivered who through fear of death were all their lifetime
subject to bondage” (Mr. C. H. Bright).
In consequence, those for whom Christ died shall never themselves receive
the wages of sin. Fall asleep they may, but die they shall not: “If a man
keep My saying, he shall never see death” (

John 8:52); “Whosoever
liveth and believeth on Me shall never die” (

John 11:26).

Joshua 6:4 to 20. Once again we would ask the student to read
the Scripture before noting our brief remarks thereon. The one thing
which we here single out for mention is that the Ark of the covenant
led the way as Israel marched around the walls of Jericho. How plainly
this teaches us that, if the strongholds of Satan are to fall before the
people of God, if proud imaginations and every high thing that exalteth
itself against the knowledge of God are to be cast down, it can only be
under the immediate leadership of the Captain of our salvation. Notice
how the “Ark” is mentioned no less than ten times in Joshua 6! The
power was not in the trumpets, nor in the marching or shouting of the
people, but in the Ark with its blood-sprinkled mercy-seat going before
them; and strikingly did God bear witness to its efficacy.
(5). “And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges,
stood on this side of the Ark and on that side before the priests and
Levites, which bear the Ark of the covenant of the Lord, as well the
stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against
Mount Gerizim, and half of them over against Mount Ebal; as Moses
the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless
the people of Israel” (

Joshua 8:33). Here a lovely scene is presented
to us. At their first attempt to capture Ai, Israel had failed miserably,
due to their pride and self-sufficiency — see

7:3. Deeply exercised
in heart Joshua had sought unto Jehovah, who made known to him the
sin of Achan. After that had been dealt with, the Lord assured Joshua

8:1) that He had given Ai into his hands. The sequel made this
manifest: the city was burned and its king hanged. Then we are told,.366
Joshua built an altar unto the Lord, upon whose stones He wrote the
ten commandments, and then summoning all Israel together, read in
their ears all the words of the law. But what is so blessed to behold is,
that the Ark formed the center. “And all Israel…. stood on this side of
the Ark and on that side.” Precious figure was this of Christ in the
midst of His assembly, and praise being rendered to Him for the
victories He has wrought.
(6). “And the children of Israel inquired of the Lord, for the Ark of the
covenant of God was there in those days (

Judges 20:27). The
chapter in which this is found records another of Israel’s sad failures
into which we must not now enter. The tribe of Benjamin had sinned
grievously and the remaining tribes undertook to punish them. Though
vastly superior in numbers, Israel was defeated. Then it was that they
wept and fasted before the Lord, and inquired of Him. The reference to
the Ark here, typically shows us that the mind of Goal can only be
learned through and in Christ.
(7). 1 Samuel 4: This chapter presents to us the sad spectacle of the
Ark of God captured by the Philistines (v.

11) — permitted by God
because of the apostasy of His people. Typically, this points to the
humiliation of that One whom the Ark ever prefigured, and
foreshadowed His being delivered into the hands of the Gentiles! Two
details here emphasise what we have just said, and exceedingly striking
they are. Connected with, yea, synchronizing with, the Ark being laid
hold of by the Philistines, was the death of the high priest (v. 18).
According to the eternal counsels of God, the Lord Jesus was delivered
into the hands of the Gentiles in order to the death of the great High
Priest! Equally noteworthy were the words of Eli’s daughter-in-law:
“The glory of God is departed from Israel, because the Ark of God was
taken” (v. 21). So it was with the Anti-type. With the delivering up of
Christ into the hands of the Gentiles the glory of God departed from
(8). 1 Samuel 5. This chapter traces the history of the Ark while it was
away from Israel in the land of the Philistines. First, they took it into
the house of Dagon, and set it before this idol. The sequel was
startling: “And when they of Ashdod rose early on the morrow, behold
Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the Ark of the
Lord.” How forcibly this reminds us of what is mentioned in

18:3-6, when the officers came to arrest Christ they “fell to the ground
before Him!” And afterwards God troubled the Philistines so severely
they got rid of the Ark by sending it back to Israel. Did not this
foreshadow the Gentiles’ rejection of Christ, their aspostasy, and the
subsequent return of Christ to the Jews!
(9). “And they set the Ark of God upon a new cart and brought it
out of the house of Abinadab” (

2 Samuel 6:3).
In setting the Ark on a new cart (imitating the Philistines —

Samuel 6:7-11) they disregarded the Divine injunction — see

Numbers 3:27-31.
“And when they came to Nachom’s threshing floor, Uzzah put
forth his hand to the Ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen
shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah: and
God smote him there for his rashness; and there he died by the Ark
of God” (

2 Samuel 6:6, 7).
This was God’s Judgment because of their disobedience to His word.

Numbers 4:15 specifically prohibited any from touching the holy
things save the Levites, and

Numbers 1:51 threatened death.
“David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite. And
the Ark of the Lord continued in the house of Obededom three
months. And the Lord blessed Obededom, and all his household”
(vv. 10, 11).
This gives us the other side of the typical picture — Divine grace
flowing out to the Gentiles while Christ is with them (

Acts 15:14).
(10). “So David went and fetched up the Ark of God from the
house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness” (

Samuel 6:12):
with this should be carefully compared 1 Chronicles 15, from which we
learn that all was now done according to Divine order.
“And they brought in the Ark of the Lord, and set it in his place, in
the midst of the Tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David
offered burnt, offerings and peace offerings before the Lord” (v.
It is exceedingly striking that after the Ark left the Tabernacle in the days
of Eli, it is not again found in Jerusalem until the king chosen of God, the
man after His own heart, had ascended the throne! In the days of Solomon
the Ark was deposited in the Temple, indicative of Christ present in Israel’s
midst during the Millennium.
May the Lord add His own blessing to this little study and make it as
refreshing to others as it has been to us.


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