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Tuesday, July 17 2012
Israel In History and Prophecy: Moses
"Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we"
As covered in our previous study in this series (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Jacob's Family), when Jacob entered the land of Egypt, he was all of the "Israel" that existed. To escape a drought in the land of Canaan, "Jacob" came "into Egypt," the well-watered (as it still is today, as seen in the satellite photograph) Nile Delta region of "Goshen." At that time, "the children of Israel" were only seventy people.
"46:26 All the souls [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?] that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were threescore and six; 46:27 And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten." (Genesis 46:26-27 KJV)
The children of Israel, and the subsequent generations of them, remained in Egypt for a little over four hundred years. During that time, the original family of seventy refugees "increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them."
"1:7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them." (Exodus 1:7 KJV)
A census taken a little over a year after the Exodus reveals what the Pharaoh feared about "the children of Israel" (the Pharaoh, like everyone else, knew nothing of a yet-future country named "Israel"; all that existed then were a great many people who were descended from a man named Israel - and who had long-overstayed their welcome in their host country). The number of military-age Israelite males was 603,550 - a formidable internal threat to any country.
"1:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 1:2 Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; 1:3 From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies." (Numbers 1:1-3 KJV)
It would nevertheless seem unlikely that the Pharaoh regarded the Israelites as complete foreigners because they had been born in Egypt, generation after generation, for over four centuries. By that time, the Israelites themselves would almost certainly have thought of themselves, at least partly, as Egyptians (just as descendants of immigrants to any country do today, in much less time than four centuries), which ironically may have been an additional basis of the Pharaoh's apprehension of them.
As stated in the Scriptures, the Pharaoh feared a revolution by the Egyptian-born Israelites because they had grown to a multitude that was capable of challenging Egypt's military defenses (if substantial numbers of Israelites weren't already serving in the Egyptian military, as would be normal and expected, at the very least in supply and support positions i.e. revolutions are almost always staged by treasonous, politically-ambitious army officers who lust to become the "father" of a new country, after concocting a "cause" for their gullible followers e.g. the Russian Revolution of 1917, as lampooned in George Orwell's famous Animal Farm, was typical of most "people's revolutions" before and since). The Pharaoh's response to the threat was progressively more lethal, from economic sanctions, that permitted the Israelites to earn a living only "with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field," and when that didn't work, his order to commit a genocide upon all male Israelite infants.
"1:8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph [see Joseph, Prime Minister Of Egypt]. 1:9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: 1:10 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, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
An Israelite couple, of the tribe of Levi (which at that time was merely a tribe of Israel, the Levite priesthood didn't exist yet; see The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood and How Did The Messiah's Levite Priesthood Change?), already had two children; a three-year old by the name of Aaron, and an early-teenage daughter named Miriam. Those two children were safe from the Pharaoh's order to throw newborn male infants into the river. But the family just then had another addition, a male. The infant was hidden for three months, but when it was no longer possible to do so, the mother "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." Miriam, then perhaps thirteen or fourteen years old, followed the basket along the river.
"2:1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. 2:2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. 2:3 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. 2:4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him." (Exodus 2:1-4 KJV)
The daughter of Pharaoh was the one to discover the basket, and the baby in it. She knew that it was Israelite i.e. "This is one of the Hebrews' children."
"2:5 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. 2:6 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." (Exodus 2:5-6 KJV)
Quick-thinking Miriam then rushed up and offered a suggestion, "Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?" Moses was then returned to his own mother.
"2:7 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? 2:8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. 2:9 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 2:7-9 KJV)
We don't know what name his parents gave to him, but when he was given to the Pharaoh's daughter, the Egyptian princess named him Moses, "Because I drew him out of the water."
"2:10 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." (Exodus 2:10 KJV)
The Sinai Shepherd
Although born in Goshen (see Why Did They Go To Goshen?) as an Israelite, of the tribe of Levi (see Are Levites 'Jews'?), Moses grew up in the house of the daughter of the Pharaoh (see The River Of Moses). One day, he righteously defended the life of "an Hebrew, one of his brethren" (see Who Has A Spirit Of Confrontation?).
"2:11 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 spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. 2:12 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. 2:13 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?
The author of the Book of Hebrews gives us more detail of why Moses did what he did - at some point, from some one, he came to know that he was an Israelite. Notice also the revelation that Moses knew Christ ("Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt," verse 26 below), which is also stated elsewhere in the Scriptures (e.g. "10:1 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; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 KJV).
"11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 11:28 Through faith he kept the passover [see Nisan 14: The Sacrifice Of The Lamb Of God], and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn [see The Harvest Prophecies] should touch them." (Hebrews 11:24-28 KJV)
The Scriptures don't identify who it was that Moses killed, but it was obviously someone who was regarded to be more important than Moses - who lived in the palace complex of the Pharaoh. Moses "fled from the face of Pharaoh," likely on horseback or chariot - he had the best of both available. When Moses found a well in the Sinai, he once again displayed his tendency to use righteous force to defend the weak; when men came and drove the daughters of Jethro away from the well, "Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock."
"2:15 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: and he sat down by a well.
So it was that Moses found a new home, with the people of the Sinai. Moses married Zipporah, a daughter of Jethro the Midianite, and with her eventually had two sons, Gershom and Eliezer. The Abrahamic ancestry of Moses' children is found in both Moses and Zipporah - the Midianites were descendants of Abraham's son Midian, through Abraham's wife Keturah: "25:1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. 25:2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah." Genesis 25:1-2; see also Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches and Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates).
"2:18 And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day?
It seems apparent that Moses had resigned himself to remain, with his new family, as a content Bedouin shepherd for the rest of his life. Years later however, Moses discovered that his experience as a shepherd in the Sinai would train and harden him to lead the "children of Israel" in the Exodus that was promised to Abraham, centuries before (see The Exodus Prophecy).
"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 bondage. 2:24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." (Exodus 2:23-24 KJV)
Fact Finder: How did Moses personally know Jesus Christ?
This Day In History, July 17
431: The Council of Ephesus adjourned. This third of the 21 ecumenical councils of the Roman Church condemned Nestorianism and Pelagianism (listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
1203: The Fourth Crusade captured Constantinople (named after the Roman Emperor Constantine). The Byzantine emperor Alexius III Angelus fled into exile.
1453: The Battle of Castillon took place between France and England. It marked the end of the Hundred Years War between the two countries.
1505: Twenty-one-year-old Martin Luther entered the Augustinian monastic order at Erfurt, Germany. Despite his later "protest" against Rome, Luther maintained (as do the "Protestant" churches of today) nearly all of the Church of Rome's antichrist doctrines (see Antichristians).
1762: Peter III, emperor of Russia, was killed after his abdication and arrest. He was succeeded by Catherine II.
1791: The "Massacre of the Champ de Mars" during the French Revolution. French National Guardsmen under the command of General Lafayette opened fire on a crowd at the Champ de Mars in Paris.
1890: Cecil Rhodes became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony of South Africa.
1917: The British Royal Family changed its name from the German "House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha" to "Windsor" because of anti-German feelings in Britain during the First World War.
1918: The Russian royal family was executed by rebels of the Bolshevik Party: Czar Nicholas, 50; his wife Alexandra (a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England), 46; their son Alexei, 13; their daughters Olga, 22, Tatiana, 21, Marie, 19 and Anastasia, 17. Some historians attribute Alexandra's arrogant misrule while Nicholas was away commanding the Russian army during the First World War to the collapse of the imperial government in 1917. She had also made herself unpopular by her association with Rasputin, the infamous "mad monk," who she had hoped could treat her son Alex's hemophilia.
1918: During the First World War, the Carpathia, the ship that rescued over 700 survivors of the Titanic when it sunk in April of 1912, was sunk off the coast of Ireland by a German submarine.
1944: Napalm incendiary bombs were used by U.S. bombers for the first time, on German-occupied France during the Second World War.
1944: Nazi Field Marshall Erwin Rommel ("the Desert Fox") was severely wounded when a British fighter plane strafed his staff car after catching it out in the open in France.
1951: Prince Baudouin became the fifth king of the Belgians after his father, Leopold III, abdicated.
1998: An undersea earthquake produced a tsunami that struck Papua New Guinea, killing thousands of people and leaving thousands more missing.
1998: The International Criminal Court was established with the stated purpose to impartially prosecute individuals for "genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression." The Court has remained mostly impotent because the worst war criminal nations are also usually the most militarily powerful - despite overwhelming eyewitness and video evidence against the accused, they refuse to bring their war criminals (and therefore their nation) to justice for their atrocities. Nevertheless, God's Judgment, from which no one can hide, awaits everyone in due time (see Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff).