Life-Study of Exodus

Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0397-9
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 18 of 185 Section 1 of 3

LIFE-STUDY OF EXODUS

MESSAGE EIGHTEEN

GOD’S DEMAND AND PHARAOH’S RESISTANCE

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If we would grasp the revelation in the book of Exodus, we need to see that God desires His people to build a dwelling place for Him on earth. But God’s enemy has usurped His people and holds them in bondage in the world. Therefore, in the first fourteen chapters of Exodus, there was a struggle between God and Pharaoh, the representative of Satan. In this struggle God’s judgment upon the Egyptian world was made manifest through the ten plagues. However, the plagues were not only a punishment, but also God’s way of exposing the nature, the meaning, and the issue of the life of the world, the life which occupied the people of God. Hence, the plagues that came upon the Egyptians were not only punishments, but also merciful warnings. If the Egyptians had received mercy, they would have seen the nature, meaning, and result of the life in the world.

It is quite meaningful that God sent ten plagues, not nine or eleven. In the Bible the number ten signifies perfection or completeness in human living. For example, our ten fingers and ten toes signify such completeness. The Bible reveals that at the end of this age there will be ten kingdoms under the rule of Antichrist. Those ten kingdoms will be the ultimate expression of fallen human life. In order to expose human life in the world, God used ten plagues. As we have pointed out, these ten plagues are divided into four groups. The first three groups consist of three plagues each, with the last plague standing in a category of its own.

We have covered the first group of plagues, the plagues of blood, frogs, and lice. The plagues of blood and frogs are related to water, whereas the plague of lice is related to the dust of the earth. Hence, in the first group of plagues the water and the earth were exposed and judged. We are all dependent on the water and the earth for our livelihood. The supply necessary to sustain human life comes from these two sources. In the first three plagues God exposed the nature of the fallen life of mankind. As He did so, He showed that the resources of man’s livelihood issue in death, trouble, and irritation.

The second group of three plagues deals mainly with the air. Today there is much concern about air pollution. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth plagues, the air in Egypt became polluted. Flies swarmed in the air, pestilence was carried through the air, and ashes that caused boils were sprinkled into the air. Therefore, in the second group of plagues, the air, another necessity for man’s life, was dealt with.

I wish to emphasize the fact that these plagues were not only a form of punishment, but also an exposure of the world and of the life in the world. If God’s intention had been to use the plagues only as punishment, there would have been no need for Him to send Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh again and again. Furthermore, there would have been no need for Him to send the plagues over a period of so many days. Instead, God could have punished the Egyptians and destroyed them with one blow. However, God dealt with them in a fine, detailed way. Firstly, God changed the water into blood. Then He brought forth the troublesome frogs and, following that, the irritating lice. God’s purpose in doing so was not only to punish the Egyptians, but to teach both them and His own people that the resources of man’s life supply have actually become blood, frogs, and lice.

God created the heavens for the earth and the earth for man’s living. Thus, both the heavens and the earth are for man’s existence. Man, however, has fallen. According to His righteousness, God should have judged both the heavens and the earth immediately after the fall of Adam. But God’s intention is to accomplish His eternal purpose through man. Instead of judging everything, God put the universe under the redemption of Christ.

The redemption of Christ is a very weighty matter, much more significant than we realize. God established Adam as the head of the whole creation in Genesis 1. In principle, when the head rebelled, all creation came under the curse and should have been judged immediately according to God’s righteousness. The whole creation should have collapsed. God cannot tolerate anything that touches His righteousness, holiness, and glory; but neither will He change His heart concerning His purpose to have an eternal dwelling among man. Therefore, God chose to view the whole creation under the redemption of Christ, which in His eyes had been accomplished before the foundation of the world (1 Pet. 1:19-20; Rev. 13:8). Because God views the old creation under the redemption of Christ, He has the freedom either to preserve the universe or to judge it and destroy it. Because of the redemption of Christ, God is wholly just and righteous whether He keeps the universe or destroys it.

When God could no longer tolerate the sinfulness of Sodom and Gomorrah because they rebelled against Him and rejected the redemption He had ordained, that part of the earth came under His righteous judgment. In principle, the same thing happened in Moses’ time. Pharaoh and the Egyptians rejected the redemption ordained by God and thus made themselves naked and exposed to God’s judgment. Because the children of Israel were still under the redemption, God’s judgment did not touch them. Exodus 8:23 is a crucial verse: “I will put a redemption between my people and thy people” (Heb.). Here the Lord was telling Pharaoh that He would put a redemption between His people and Pharaoh’s people. God covered His people with the redemption of Christ, but Pharaoh and his people rejected God’s redemption. Therefore, when God sent the plagues upon the Egyptians, they were not under God’s redemption, but were exposed to His judgment.

In the fall, man had sinned against God’s righteousness and had come short of God’s glory. Nevertheless, God did not come in with judgment. How then could God’s righteousness be maintained? According to Genesis 3:21, the answer rests in God’s redemption. The skins of the animal God used to cover Adam and Eve point to the redemption of Christ. Because of the redemption of Christ, God is able righteously to maintain the existence of the universe.

In Exodus Pharaoh and the Egyptians did not care for the redemption of Christ. They deserved to be judged for the way they were treating God’s people. Therefore, God exercised His judgment upon the Egyptians through the ten plagues. At the time of the plagues, the Egyptians were exposed to God’s righteous dealings. The children of Israel, however, remained under the redemption of Christ, for God had put a redemption between them and Pharaoh’s people.

Today the whole earth is still under the redemption of Christ. If it were not for Christ’s redemption, the sun, the moon, and the planets would disintegrate. God upholds the heavens and the earth for the sake of man’s existence. You may wonder how the righteous God can tolerate the sinfulness of people in the world today. He can tolerate it only because He views the world through the redemption of Christ.

All the people of the world are actually enjoying the benefit of Christ’s redemption, although they have no realization of it. Colossians tells us that God has reconciled all things to Himself through the death of Christ (1:20). Only under the redemption of Christ is this earth a suitable place for man to live. If the creation were not under the redemption of Christ, it would collapse. But God extends His mercy to view the unbelievers under the redemption of Christ that they might have the opportunity to repent and receive this redemption.

All the food we eat and all the life supply we enjoy are under the redemption of Christ. Otherwise, the water would become blood, the fish would become frogs, the earth would produce either thorns or lice instead of grain, and from the air would come flies. The ten plagues came upon Egypt because they rejected God’s redemption.

At the time of Pharaoh’s resistance to God, Pharaoh and the Egyptians exposed themselves to God’s righteous judgment. But He was merciful even in the exercise of His judgment. Instead of annihilating the Egyptians with one act of judgment, He sent a series of plagues upon them. His intention in doing this was not only to punish or to judge, but also to expose and to warn the Egyptians that they might have opportunity to turn to Him.

Each plague is significant. In the first plague, the water was changed into blood. Do you have the assurance that the water of the world which you are enjoying today is not actually blood? If this water is under the redemption of Christ, it is water. But if it is not under Christ’s redemption, it is really blood. In like manner, in your experience does the water that is the source of the necessary life supply produce fish or frogs? It all depends on whether or not the water is under the redemption of Christ. I can testify from a pure conscience that the water I enjoy produces fish and not frogs. Furthermore, for me the earth produces corn, wheat, and vegetables; it does not produce lice. However, if in your experience the earth is not under Christ’s redemption, the dust of the earth will become lice.


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