The Call of Moses (The Covenant & the Cross #64) #VA5

Today’s passage of Scripture is Exodus 3:1-4 which reads: “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. 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. 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.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from the translators to the readers of the original 1611 King James Bible. They wrote: “We do not deny, nay we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English, set forth by men of our profession… containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God: as the King’s speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King’s speech, though it not be interpreted by every translator with the like grace nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, everywhere.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Call of Moses” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The OT covers the four-hundred-year period in Egypt in a single chapter, Exodus 1. From the perspective of the biblical writer, not much significant happened during that period. There was a dynastic change, and the status of the Israelites slipped from guests to slaves.

Meanwhile, their population grew, prompting an Egyptian backlash. This sets the stage for the birth of Moses. Most of us are familiar with the account of the birth of Moses and how his mother managed to hide his existence. When we read the text carefully, we realize that she was aware of the daily routine of the daughter of Pharaoh and of her personality. The infant was placed in a basket amid the “bullrushes” or reeds, a shallow place away from the current. Miriam, Moses’ older sister, stood watching, wondering what would happen. The daughter of Pharaoh chose to defy her father’s decree and took the child to the palace. We have no idea about her motivation, but if the woman was Hatshepsut, this act would seem to go along with her personality. Perhaps this was her way of getting back at her husband for fathering a son by a concubine.

The boy Moses grew up in the palace and in that situation undoubtedly received a fine education. Most likely he learned to read and write Egyptian, Akkadian, and Hebrew. Sometime after reaching adulthood, he began to think for himself, and he tried to intervene on behalf of his people. This resulted in the death of an Egyptian overseer, and Moses fled to the desert. There he met Jethro, also named Reuel. Jethro was a priest of God—apparently the same God the Israelites served. He was also a herder of sheep, and it was through his daughters and his flocks that he met Moses when the latter intervened on behalf of the daughters at the watering trough.

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The Passover Event (The Covenant & the Cross #66) #VA4

Today’s passage of Scripture is Exodus 12:5-7 which reads: “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 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. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Michael Horton. He said: “To preach the Bible as ‘the handbook for life,’ or as the answer to every question, rather than as the revelation of Christ, is to turn the Bible into an entirely different book. This is how the Pharisees approached Scripture, as we can see clearly from the questions they asked Jesus. For the Pharisees, the Scriptures were a source of trivia for life’s dilemmas.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Passover Event” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The last “plague” is given special attention because it was so much more than just a plague. Rather, it was the foundation for a ritual that would become the religious foundation of Israel to this day. God told Moses that after this event, Pharaoh would let the people go. In preparation of this freedom, the people were to perform a ritual, which was then to be repeated annually as a reminder of God’s work on behalf of His people.

The first Passover event began with the selection of a lamb. It was to be chosen on the tenth of the month of Nisan, the lunar month that begins the religious year for Israel. This lamb was to have no defects and might be either a sheep or a goat.

Each family was to select a lamb unless the family was too small, in which case several neighbors were to share one. The reason is that there were to be no leftovers after it was cooked. The lamb was to be kept until the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan (the night of the full moon). At twilight the head of the family was to kill the lamb and save its blood. Some of the blood was to be painted on the door posts and lintel of the house. The lamb was then to be roasted whole (insuring that no bones were broken). With the lamb, the people were to eat bitter herbs. As God laid out this ritual, He made clear that it was to be performed annually to remind the people of their deliverance from Egypt. Each member of the family was to be fully dressed and prepared for a journey as he or she ate. Previously, the Israelites had been told to request gold, silver, and jewelry from the Egyptians. Through God’s intervention, the Egyptians acceded to the request. While we are not told specifically, we can safely assume that the Israelites were also all packed and ready for a rapid flight from Egypt.

The Background to the Exodus (The Covenant & the Cross #63) #VA2

Today’s passage of Scripture is Exodus 1:6-8 which reads: “And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Martin Luther. He said: “I beg every devout Christian not to despise the simplicity of language and the stories found in the Old Testament. He should remember that, however, simple the Old Testament may seem, it contains the words, works, judgments and actions of God Himself. Indeed the simplicity makes fools of the wise and the clever, and allows the poor and simple to see the ways of God. Therefore submit your thoughts and feelings to the stories you read, and let yourself be carried like a child to God.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Background to the Exodus” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The Exodus is the key event of the Old Testament. The writer skips over the four-hundred-year period when Jacob’s descendants were in Egypt and picks up the story with the birth of Moses. He describes how God used Moses to deliver this mob of people out of bondage. This part of the story ends with the Israelites at Mount Sinai, where God establishes them as a full-fledged nation.

As we finished the book of Genesis, we noted that the nation of Israel had descended to Egypt in embryonic form and was left there to incubate for four hundred years. The twelve sons of Jacob had become the nucleus around which the nation would be developed (the twelve tribes). Now we will look at the hatching process, so to speak, which is described in the book of Exodus. These are now times that the original audience would have been personally familiar with — they had been there. And from our perspective, these are times for which we have firmer historical knowledge. The Exodus is the anchor point of the Old Testament, both historically and theologically.

The Date of the Exodus, Part 3 (The Covenant & the Cross #71)

Exodus 15:1-4 which reads: “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Jacquelyn K. Heasley. She said: “The Word of God is a Person. When you read it, do you see words or do you see Him?”

Our topic for today is titled “The Date of the Exodus (Part 3)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Today, we are going to look at the third and fourth studies regarding the issue of the date of the Exodus.

STUDY 3: THE HEBREW CALENDAR

Two factors affect the dating of Old Testament events. Israel, which used a different calendar than we do, had both a religious new year in the spring (marked by the Passover) and a civil new year in the fall (marked by Rosh Hashanah). In addition, the way the kings counted the time between their coronation and the next new year varied. Sometimes the coronation counted as the first year; at other times, the first full year counted as the first year.

Putting these three items together and working through the biblical chronologies, we have a solid chain back to the division of the nation of Israel into the northern and southern kingdoms in 931 BCE. This means that Solomon took the throne in 971 BCE. When we turn to 1 Kings 6:1, we find that Solomon began to build the temple in the fourth year of his reign — 480 years after the Exodus. The fourth year of Solomon’s reign would be 967 or 966 BCE, probably the latter. If the temple was begun in 966, then the Exodus took place in 1446 BCE.

The Date of the Exodus, Part 2 (The Covenant & the Cross #70)

Exodus 14:29-31 which reads: “the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Phillips Brooks. He said: “Christ is the Word of God. It is not in certain texts written in the New Testament, valuable as they are; it is not in certain words which Jesus spoke, vast as is their preciousness; it is in the Word, which Jesus is, that the great manifestation of God is made.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Date of the Exodus (Part 2)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Today, we are going to look at the second study regarding the issue of the date of the Exodus.

STUDY 2: MERNEPTAH’S STELE

The conclusion regarding the date of the Exodus that has been reached from deciphering languages has created problems. One of the most serious difficulties was the discovery of an inscription called the Merneptah stele. On this stone document, Mer-nep-tah (the son of Rameses) claims a victory over Israel in the land of Canaan, showing that during his reign Israel was already in the land of Canaan: “Israel is laid waste, his seed is not.” Thus, Merneptah could not have been the pharaoh of the Exodus, for that identification does not leave room for the Exodus, the forty years in the desert, and the five to ten years of conquest during his reign. For this reason, many scholars have suggested that the pharaoh Moses met on his return to Egypt was Rameses, the same one from whom he had fled about forty years earlier.

The Date of the Exodus, Part 1 (The Covenant & the Cross #69)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Exodus 13:21-22 which reads: “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: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from T. Austin-Sparks. He said: “The whole meaning of spiritual understanding is that we see what the Spirit has always meant. It is one of our laws of interpretation that the whole Bible is focused in Christ, and that the work of the Holy Spirit in every dispensation relates to Christ.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Date of the Exodus (Part 1)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Even for those who affirm that there was a historical Exodus event, there is still debate regarding when it occurred. Various dates have been suggested by researchers, but only two have been widely accepted: an early date in the middle of the fifteenth century BCE (the year 1446 is frequently offered) and a late date in the thirteenth century BCE (c. 1260). Perhaps the best way to understand these different views is to trace how the two proposed dates were derived. Traditionally scholars understood the Exodus event to have occurred during the fifteenth century, based on the Old Testament genealogies and the lengths of kings’ reigns. For example, Bishop James Ussher developed a chronology that put the Exodus at 1491 BCE. For these scholars, however, there was very little information linking the Old Testament data to secular history.

Two events changed that. A French scholar named Jean Francois Champollion deciphered the Rosetta Stone in 1822, allowing us to read Egyptian hieroglyphics. Then in 1835 the British scholar Henry Gres-wich Rawlinson set out to decipher the Be-his-tun Inscription, leading eventually to a knowledge of Akkadian, and thus the ability to read the clay tablets that appeared through the excavations of Nineveh by Austin Layard beginning in 1847. With these two languages—hieroglyphics and Akkadian—scholars were able to develop historical ties with both Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations (and later with other civilizations through them).

The Passage Out of Egypt, Part 2 (The Covenant & the Cross #68)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Numbers 1:45-46 which reads: “So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel; Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Martha Kilpatrick. She said: “Shift your mind from conquering the Bible to surrendering to the Spirit of God who will whisper to you what He meant by what He wrote.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Passage Out of Egypt (Part 2)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Today, we are going to deal with two separate issues concerning the Exodus.

The first one is THE LUNAR CALENDAR and the second issue is the NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO LEFT EGYPT.

Ancient Israel used two calendars, both of which were lunar. The religious calendar began with the spring equinox (when the length of day and night are almost equal). The first new moon after that day began the month of Nisan, also called Abib. Since the spring equinox falls around March 21, we usually equate Nisan with March-April. The political year began in the fall with the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles in the month of Tishri (September-October), the seventh month in the religious calendar. Today this civil new year is called Rosh Hash-a-nah. Both new years are referred to in Exodus.

These texts suggest that from the beginning of the nation there was a dual calendar, which we find confusing today. However, we do the same thing in a variety of ways in our own culture. We follow a calendar year that begins on January 1. We also follow a school year that begins around September 1. Different levels of government and many companies use a fiscal year that begins at various times; for the U.S. government, it is currently October 1. Some churches also observe a liturgical year, which does not have a “new year,” but it begins either with Easter in Eastern churches, or with the first Sunday of Advent (near the end of November) in Western churches.

The spring festivals find typological fulfillment in the crucifixion of Jesus as the Messiah and in the founding of the church. Consequently, many scholars argue that there will be a yet-future typological fulfillment of the fall festivals in the second coming of Jesus, when his kingdom will be established on earth. These two roles of the Messiah may then provide some explanation for the two calendars.