Behold Your God

 

 

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Chapter 22

 

Rodís andSerpents

 

 

(Note: This chapter is continuous to the book but with different pagination from this point on)

 

Page 291

 

†††† This chapter will be devoted to the study of what really happened in Egypt. Of necessity, it will be a radical departure from the traditionally accepted concept. But it will be in harmony with the life and teachings of Christ, the principles of Godís character, and Godís eternal upholding of His sacred law.

†††† By sending Moses and Aaron to enact the parable of the rods and the serpents, God detailed before Pharaoh exactly what was about to transpire. The Lord would have spelled it out in words, but the monarchís mind was so darkened by sin that it was necessary to tell it in the clearest possible wayóin pictorial form.

Millions of other darkened minds since, have failed to read correctly the message God sent to the king that day. It has been almost universally read as the ultimatum of an all-powerful executioner, who had come to personally administer His judgments.

But, ďGod does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of

the sentence against transgression; but He leaves the rejectors of His

mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown.Ē The Great

Controversy, 36.

†††† Correctly read, this was the message delivered to the haughty monarch. God had ever looked with saving love upon the land of Egypt. It was not alone for the salvation of Israel that Joseph had been kidnapped to the southern kingdom. It was that Egypt might also hear the tender voice of mercy.

†††† Joseph was a type of Christ. Both were betrayed by their brethren,

sold for twenty pieces of silver, had no record of sin written in the Bi-

ble against them, and, finally, were the saviours of their own nation.

††† ďThe sin of the Egyptians was that they had refused the light which God had so graciously sent to them through Joseph.Ē SDA Bible Commentary 1:1098.

†††† Christ did not come to save Israel alone, but the whole world. Therefore, as a true type of Christ, Josephís mission was to bring salvation to the world, not just to his own family.

In the mysterious dreams given by God to the king and in the mar-

velous interpretations given by Joseph, the Egyptian ruler recog-

nized the voice and power of God and obeyed the directions of the

King of kings.

 

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†††† That obedience resulted in Egypt not only being saved from starvation, but also in her becoming the wealthiest nation on the face of the globe. They prospered beyond imagination.

Such prosperity is the natural outworking of obedience to the

laws of Godís kingdom. Any study of the churchís history will show

that whenever the people of God obeyed Him, they were wonderful-

ly blessed with prosperity in health, knowledge, power, and wealth.

This is the outworking of following out the law of self-sacrificing

service, the principle of receiving so that more can be given.

The continuing and despairing tragedy of mankind is the swift forgetfulness of the principles of righteousness which had elevated them in every way. Initially, the basis of their security lay in their complete faith in God. It was a faith so deep and firm that it enabled them to give all they had to meet the need of the moment, and know that God would provide for tomorrow.

†††No better illustration of this faith can be found than the widow

of Sarepta. When Elijah came to her, she had only enough flour and

oil to make a last cake for her son and herself. Beyond that, death

was the only prospect. When the need of Godís cause was present-

ed before heróand how essential to that cause the life of Elijah

wasóshe unhesitatingly gave all the food to him, with simple con-

fidence in the promise that her own need would be supplied.

This kind of faith is the basis of that self-sacrificing love which

brings great prosperity to Godís people. But, as material posses-

sions accumulate, little by little they displace faith in God as the

basis of security. It is always so much easier to believe in money in

the bank, a good solid house, and a prosperous farm or business

which you can see, than in a distant God whom you cannot see.

It is not that faith has been lost. It has simply been transferred from the God of the gifts to the gifts themselves. This is not an instantaneous thing. It is a slow metamorphosis, so gradual as to be imperceptible except to those on guard against it. But, in direct proportion to its development, is an increasing desire to amass wealth to strengthen this material security base, and the corresponding drying up of the spirit of self-sacrifice.

†††† Increasingly, the gifts of God are devoted to selfish pleasure, un-

til selfishness becomes the dominating force in the life. The person

or movement which began so richly in Godís service, comes to deny

the principles of righteousness. As the years pass, they will go on

from this point to develop into the full stature of the man of sin.

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†††† Step by step they thereby remove themselves from the protecting circle of Godís love until they stand fully exposed to Satanís malice. So it was with the Egyptians.

†††† While God was working only for their salvation, Satan master-

minded a plot for their total destruction. He knew he could touch

neither them nor the Israelites while they remained obedient to

God.

†††† So he worked with unflagging diligence to turn the eyes of Egypt

to their marvelous, God-given prosperity, diverting their attention

from the God who had blessed them to the blessing received from

God. As usual, he was successful. Egypt became proud, self-confi-

dent, self-serving, and oppressive. This led to their becoming task-

masters over the Israelites through whom all their blessings had

come.

†††† Thus Satan engineered a situation wherein the Israelites were not able to serve God fully except at the direct cost of their lives. The daily sacrificial system ceased, the Sabbath was hardly kept, if at all, and the people became degraded in sin.

†††† This was just as Satan wanted it, for he knew that once he had led Egypt into the full practice of self-service and therefore of utter rejection of God, they would move outside the circle of Godís mercy and would be in his destructive power.

†††† As generation after generation of Egyptians descended more

deeply into the mire of abandoned iniquity, Satan saw the day

drawing nearer when there would be none of Godís protection left.

He exulted in the increasing depravity of the Israelites, for this

meant they had less and less of Godís protection also.

†††† Plotting every move with calculated care, he proposed to involve the land of Egypt in a destructive cataclysm of such proportions as to exterminate every Israelite, thus certifying that the Redeemer would never be born. If this necessitated obliterating every Egyptian as well, Satan would not hesitate.

†††† It must be emphasized that, as the day of Egyptís doom approached, God did not wish to withdraw His protective presence from them. They were taking themselves outside it. They were making it impossible for God to remain.

†††† Meanwhile Satan was marshalling destructive forces in an attack ring around the whole nation. All it needed now was for the Egyptians to make the final dismissal of God from His position as Protector, for the plagues to begin.

 

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†††† At this point, a quick review of the original creation and the in-

trusion of sin will clarify the situation which had developed.

†††† As an act of infinite, inexpressible love, God purposed to give life to the human family. The equally infinite wisdom of God saw that

life without a home in which to live would be misery, for no one could

enjoy being perpetually suspended in supercold, utterly dark space.

†††† Thus wisdom and love gave birth to this beautiful planet. But it

was not yet enough. No such home could be fully effective without

the necessary powers of sun, gravity, and others outside of man, and

the wonderful powers within him.

†††† These are Godís mighty powers which He gave to His beloved children and they must be distinguished from the powers which are in Him as a Person.

†††† But there is, by nature, a problem with these powers. While given only for blessing, they have in them the potential for destruction. To remove that possibility is to take away the power itself, so that then, was no solution.

†††† To solve the problem, God gave man the love gift of the law. While they related themselves to, and used those powers according to law, they lived in perfect safety, but the moment they cast aside the law as their saviour, those mighty powers God had put into nature were turned into a terror of destruction.

†††† It would be well if every person on the earth were to know that all

nature, from the instant Adam and Eve rejected the law as their sav-

iour, is deranged and poised to collapse into all-obliterating devas-

tation.

†††† The reason it has not done so is because ďThe instant man ac-

cepted the temptations of Satan, and did the very things God had

said he should not do, Christ, the Son of God, stood between the liv-

ing and the dead, saying, ĎLet the punishment fall on Me. I will

stand in manís place. He shall have another chance.íĒ SDA Bible

Commentary 1:1085.

†††† When man rejected the law as his saviour, then God gave Himself

to be the Saviour. Ever since the fall in Eden, Christ by His person-

al power has been holding under control that fearsome wrath all

around us.

†††† Should sinful, defiant, desperate men during any period of histo-

ry, make a total rejection of that Saviour, then they dismiss Christ

from His post, His restraining power is removed, and the flood of

death pours upon the unprotected. God, in it all, has gone the sec-

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ond mile and beyond. It is sinful man who finally puts God in a po-

sition where there is nothing more that He can do.

††††††††† If everyone upon this earth understood and believed the truth of

these words, with what diligence would they return to God and

watch with care that they remained under His pavilion of protection.

††††††††† But the Egyptians neither understood nor believed this. They

wereunthankful,self-sufficient,self-centered,self-reliant,and

self-serving. They deemed they had no need of God and were even

superior to Him. They had advanced from one depth of wickedness

to even greater, and had come to the point of making the final dis-

missal of Christ from their world.

†††† It was now that Moses and Aaron appeared with the rods. This was

Godís last love message to the haughty king. It was a futile attempt

to explain to him the principles laid out above. The message was giv-

en in the simplest possible formópictorially, in an acted parable.

The symbols God used were Moses, Aaron, the rods, and the ser-

pents.

†††† Moses was the representative and symbol of God. He portrayed before the monarch, Godís role in the coming time of terrible trouble. This is certified in Godís own words. ďĎSo the Lord said to Moses, ĎSee, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.íĒ Exodus 7:1.

†††† Moses had not become God. By no means could this be true. He was still Moses, but he portrayed Godís role to Pharaoh. He demonstrated Godís behavior and appealed to the rebel to recognize and accept the petition of love being presented to him.

†††† The rod in the hand of Aaron who held it on Mosesíbehalf, was the symbol of the powers God had given to mankind for his blessing, which, because of sin, were poised to destroy, but which, because of Christís interposition, still remained in Godís hands and under His control. It is directly referred to as the ďrod of powerĒ which had been given him. See Patriarchs and Prophets, 396.

†††† The importance of distinguishing between the powers which God

had given to man and the powers of God Himself, was mentioned

earlier. The distinction is well illustrated by this parable. Allowing

the rod to symbolize the powers given by God to man, it is not diffi-

cult to distinguish between that and the powers in Moses. The rod

of power could be separated from him and pass out of his control and

direction, but not so the powers within him. While he lived, they

were inseparable from him.

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So with God. The mighty powers given to mankind can and have passed out of His control, but the powers within Himself can never be separated from Him. This distinction must be clearly seen for the Egyptian incident to be correctly evaluated.

Finally, there was the serpent into which the rod turned. No one will have any difficulty in recognizing the serpent as a symbol of the destroyer.

†††† The symbolism established, we return to the story.

†††† ďSo Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just

as the Lord had commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before

Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. But

Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magi-

cians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchant-

ments. For every man threw down his rod, and they became ser-

pents. But Aaronís rod swallowed up their rods. And Pharaohís

heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said.Ē

Exodus 7:10-13.

†††† As the brothers stood before the king, the rod was held firmly in

Aaronís hand and was under his personal control. While that rod

remained thus, it never became a serpent. Only when it passed out

of his hands and control did it change and that instantly so. As long

as this situation remained, it continued to be a serpent, but the mo-

ment it returned to his hand it again became a rod.1

†††† With what simple and beautiful clarity, the Lord sought to communicate to Pharaoh the vital truth that at no time whatsoever, while the powers of nature were still in Godís hands and under His control, could they be agents of destruction. Only when out of His hands and control could they be such.

†††† This truth is not limited to those days or to that particular situation. The Lord does not change. Ever since man fell, till today and beyond to the final annihilation at the end of the thousand years, the truth revealed in the rods and the serpents is the same. Never while the powers of man and nature are in Godís hands and control, can they be destroyers. That is impossible.

 

1 It is clear from the Scriptures that Aaron held, threw down, and recovered the rod as they stood before Pharaoh. Again it was he who stretched forth the rod for the first three plagues. Later Moses stretched forth the rod himself. But even when Aaron stretched out the rod, he did so only on Mosesí behalf and at his direction, therefore, we will refer to Mosesí rod rather than to Aaronís in the following pages.

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†††† This is beautifully illustrated in the experience of Elijah at Horeb.

He had fled from Jezebel in fear and discouragement to take refuge

in a cave.

†††† ďAnd there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place;

and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him,

ĎWhat are you doing here, Elijah?íSo he said, ĎI have been very zeal-

ous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsak-

en Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets

with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.í Then

He said, ĎGo out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.í And

behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the

mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the

Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the

Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but

the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So

it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle

and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And suddenly a

voice came to him, and said, ĎWhat are you doing here, Elijah?íĒ

1Kings 19:9-13.

†††† Had God been in the wind, that is, had those forces been in His hands and under His control, no storm would have been possible. There would have been only peace and blessing.

†††† Likewise the earthquake and fire were manifestations of great

natural forces turned into agencies of destruction, but they were

not such under Godís control and direction, for He was not in the

earthquake or the fire. Had He been in the mighty powers un-

leashed, there would have been an altogether different result. Firm

ground would have been beneath Elijah instead of the earth roll-

ing like the sea.

†††† The truth that so long as the powers of nature are in Godís hands

and under His control, then they can never break into any form of

destruction, needs to become forever settled in the minds of every

child of God.

†††† This is the message with which God sought to convict and convert

the heart of the king of Egypt. As Moses and Aaron stood there in his

presence, with the rod firmly held in their hands under their direct

and complete control, they portrayed to the wicked ruler a picture of

things as they then stood. This picture showed that, despite the

many decades during which Egypt had sunk into deeper iniquity, the

mighty powers of nature were still under Godís control and direction.

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But the time had come when, unless immediate steps were tak-

en in repentance and obedience, the powers of nature would pass

out of Godís hands and from His direct and complete control. In-

stantly, they would then become fearful scourges of destruction,

even as the rod released from Aaronís hand turned into a serpent.

What those powers did to Egypt while out of Godís hands and con-

trol, were not Godís work or responsibility. He had exhausted ev-

ery possible means to save them from coming to this point.

The kingís response revealed the extent to which self-sufficien-

cy had become his. He simply called in his magicians who threw down their rods. Satan, through witchcraft, made it appear that they were also turned into serpents.

 

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ďThe magicians did not really cause their rods to become ser-

pents; but by magic, aided by the great deceiver, they were able

to produce this appearance. It was beyond the power of Satan to

change the rods to living serpents. The prince of evil, though pos-

sessing all the wisdom and might of an angel fallen, has not pow-

er to create, or to give life; this is the prerogative of God alone.

But all that was in Satanís power to do, he did; he produced a

counterfeit. To human sight the rods were changed to serpents.

Such they were believed to be by Pharaoh and his court. There

was nothing in their appearance to distinguish them from the

serpent produced by Moses. Though the Lord caused the real ser-

pent to swallow up the spurious ones, yet even this was regard-

ed by Pharaoh, not as a work of Godís power, but as the result of

a kind of magic superior to that of his servants.Ē Patriarchs and

Prophets, 264.

†††† This produced a situation where the serpent formed from the

rod separated from the direction and control of Godís servants, was

faced with quite a number of what appeared to be real serpents.

Here was Satanís and, likewise, Pharaohís counter to Godís ap-

peals. Just as God was saying something by producing that one

serpent from the rod, so the apparent turning of many rods into

serpents constituted a counter-message from the powers of dark-

ness. Pharaoh may not have fully understood what he was say-

ing, but the devil who inspired and motivated him certainly did.

Instead of humbly accepting the warning which the Lord gave

them, they answered by saying that they were not concerned if

the Lord did lay down the control of those mighty powers for they

had more than sufficient forces to contain those plagues. Did not

the king have multiplied serpents? What hope did one have

against the many? So, let the Lord release His control. Pharaoh

would not be intimidated into freeing his profitable slaves.

Thus the monarch displayed a terrible and dangerous igno-

rance of the extent and magnitude of the powers which had, to

this point, been held under control by a merciful and loving God.

Knowing nothing of the might of those powers, he was likewise

ignorant of the strength of the God who held them in check.

Therefore, he had no fear, no realization of the awful danger he

was in; no sense of need of God, and no trust in Him.

This is a revelation of self-sufficiency at its very worst. It had

been developing in the king and his kingdom for a very long time

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until it had reached this state of maturity. Having rejected any

sense of need of God, the king and his subjects were in effect, and

in fact, rejecting all connection with, and dependence upon Him.

By this means they cut themselves off from God, placing Him in a position from where He could no longer hold the powers connected with the land of Egypt in His hands and under His control. While those forces were so held, they were only a blessing and benefit to the nation, but, when no longer in Godís charge, they could only turn into ravages of destruction.

†††† Filled with an altogether false and grossly exaggerated view of

his own powers, and a terribly deficient concept of the magnitude of

the powers around him, the king was confident that he could easi-

ly handle anything God might release. The sight of his numerous

serpents advancing against one, reinforced that conviction.

It was not possible for the king to have a more misleading or dan-

gerous self-assurance. His puny power could never withstand the

onrush of the mighty forces of nature out of Godís hands, direction,

and control. Such ignorant and foolish thinking in the face of this

loving appeal from God, could only serve to separate him entirely

from God and to place himself outside the circle of Godís protection.

Even though the king rejected Godís call, God did not abandon

him to his errors but continued to seek to save him. To accomplish

this the Lord demonstrated the futility of the kingís forces to con-

tain the powers symbolized by the one serpent. Though to all ap-

pearances hopelessly outnumbered, the one serpent busily swal-

lowed the rest. This was a message saying to the king, if he could

only see it, that no matter how great an effort he might put forth to

hold in check and redirect the forces released against him, he would

be unable to do it. He and his people would be consumed while the

mighty powers remained as undiminished as if they had not been

touched at all.

†††† This was the message brought to him through the rods and the

serpents. It was a message of love designed to soften and save.

††††††††† Had the great ruler perceived both the message and the spirit of

infinite love in which it was given, he would have quickly confessed

his spirit of rebellion, and his utter helplessness to change his heart

to one of obedience to God. Then, he would have pleaded with Mo-

ses to show him the way of salvation so that he could obey God and

release the Israelites from slavery.

Instead, the king resisted the loving appeals of the Holy Spirit,

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who was there to bring home Godís message with convicting power.

By so doing, he took the final step, whereby he placed himself and

his nation outside the limits of Godís protection. Having cast aside

Godís law as his saviour, he now cast aside Christ, the Saviour, too.

There was no more God could do. The control of those assembled

forces of destruction passed out of His hands and the plagues be-

gan. Yet, even so, Godís love for Egypt and His reluctance to see the

people suffer was so great, that He only released His grip as far as

He was compelled to. He could have taken Himself completely away

and left the land to be swamped with all the plagues at once, but in-

stead He went back only one step at a time, each move being forced

upon Him by Pharaohís increasing stubbornness. Each successive

withdrawal released from His hands another powerful element of

nature to scourge the Egyptians. The Lord was enabled to leave

them only one step at a time, because the nation was not as fully

hardened against God as Pharaoh.

†††† While Israel was the primary target of Satanís wrath, the plagues

did not consume them for the simple reason that, even though they

were far from fully righteous, there were at least a goodly number

among them who loved and served God the best they could under

those circumstances. They had not cast aside either the law or

Christ. Consequently Christ, who will always remain Protector

even of sinful, ungrateful men as long as possible, was able to shield

the house of Israel from the successive pestilences.

†††† In the acted parable of the rods and the serpents, God demon-

strated His role in the coming catastrophes. If the king saw the

truth of it, he certainly neither believed nor heeded it. His scorn and

unbelief did not change the certainty that the mighty forces of

sin-deranged nature would punish him and his people. Nor did his

insulting attitude provoke God into taking those forces into His

hands and using them as a personally directed scourge against the

Egyptians.

†† ††That which devastated them were those forces out of the hands

and control of God. Furthermore, they were taken from His grasp,

not because He had chosen to release them, but because the Egyp-

tians themselves had displaced Him from His position as their

Protector.

†††† Thus the plagues were not what God did to the Egyptians. They were altogether what they did to themselves.

So it will ever be.

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God never changes. He does not do one thing to the sin-cursed

Egyptians and something different to like rejecters of His mercy

in another age or clime. When, at any time or place, nature in a

state of implacable and merciless wrath, savages human life and

lands, it is because those powers have passed out of Godís hands

and controlónever because they are instruments in His hands to

destroy.

†††† Therefore, whenever we are witness to the desolating march of

plague, fire, earthquake, tempest, or pestilence across the land

and are tempted to think God is at work, let us remember the mes-

sage of the rods and the serpents. Then we will know the real truth

of what is happening.

†††† To believe that God forcibly subdued the Egyptians in order to

effect the release of His people, is to level, by implication, a terri-

ble indictment against the Lord. It is to charge Him with deliber-

ately and callously leaving the Jews to suffer for centuries when

they could have been released long before they were.

He who in the possession of omnipotent power, uses it as the

means of executing his will, can do what he wishes when he choos-

es. If this is Godís way as so many suppose, then every day that

the Israelites continued in servitude, was because He chose not to

release them. For centuries, they were ground down in brutal

bondage, all the misery of which would have to be accounted to God

for failing to exert His mighty power at any chosen time to set

them free. God could not be a God of love and at the same time be-

have in this fashion.

†††† The truth is, God has committed Himself never to solve prob-

lems by the use of force. Therefore, the timing for the Israelitesí

release would be determined, not by Godís own personal choice,

but by the effects of the Egyptiansí deepening apostasy. This

brought about a separation from God which released destructive

powers upon them until they had destroyed their capacity to hold

their slaves. Then and only then, could the Israelites go free. When

these principles are understood, no problem will be seen in their

being left in servitude for so long.

†††† God will not deviate from His ways, for He knows that the use

of force is self-defeating. Had it been His principle to rule by force,

then He would have stamped rebellion out of existence as soon as

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it manifested itself initially. There would have been no long period of sin in this world.

†††† But sin must be allowed to run its course until it ultimately de-

stroys itself and all who cling to it. Then the Lord will be free to

make the new heavens and the new earth with no danger of their

defilement.

Christ and the Scourge

†††† The same message which God sought to convey to the stubborn

Egyptian ruler, Christ endeavored to impress upon the minds of

the traders in the temple when He cleansed it for the first time.

Some study has already been given to this event in chapter fifteen,

but we deferred the analysis now to be given until Mosesí rod had

firstly been considered.

†††† The declaration given by Christ when He held the scourge, is the

exact counterpart in the New Testament of what Moses did in the

Old when he held the rod in his hands. The symbolism is identical.

As has already been established, the rod Moses held symbolized

Godís powers in nature still under His control and direction. As

Moses gripped the rod, so Christ held the scourge, which likewise

symbolized Godís powers in nature. Just as Mosesí rod could not,

and did not, turn into a serpent while it remained in his hands, so

the scourge could not and did not strike a single person while it

was in Christís control.

†††† The story can be as easily misinterpreted as was the Egyptian

episode. Most would argue that, while it is true that Christ did not

actually strike the offenders in the temple, He most certainly

threatened to and would have done so if they had resisted Him. To

adopt this view is to regard the character of Christ as being iden-

tical with that of men, while missing the message which the Sav-

iour desired to convey.

†††† He had come upon them while they were practicing serious in-

iquity. This could only serve to separate them from the protection

of God so that they would be left exposed to the terribly destruc-

tive forces surrounding them. Christ desired to save them from

this, so He portrayed before them the situation which was devel-

oping. He wished them to understand that the usually mild and

beneficent forces of nature, were being transformed into a punish-

ing scourge. That they had not yet been smitten by this whip was

due alone to the fact that Christ still held it under His control and

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would continue to do so until the period of their probation ended.

††††††††† For them, that was still several years away. During the ensuing

interval of time, Godís presence was progressively withdrawn from

the land. Christ announced His eternal departure from the temple

in the sad words, ďSee! Your house is left to you desolate.Ē Matthew

23:38. This was just before His final sufferings and death. In A.D.

34, probation closed on the nation as a whole in accordance with

the prophecy of Daniel 9, but the retribution still tarried, Christ

still held the scourge in His hands, until in A.D. 70, He laid it down

and the full fury of enraged nature in the form of the Roman sol-

diery burst upon the shelterless, unprotected heads of the Jews.

In the temple, Christ had as vividly warned them of their im-

pending fate as Moses had warned the Egyptians of theirs. But,

just as the ancient oppressors of Israel would pay no heed to Godís

entreaties, neither would the Jews. This being their choice, there

was nothing further the Lord could do to save either. The rod be-

came a serpent, and the scourge left the control of Christ.

When the warning was given to each in turn, it was not too late

to repent. This above all else the Lord desired them to do. Therefore,

the demonstrations were given in infinite love and mercy. In no sense

of the word, were they the expression of a spirit of vindictive anger

and revenge. No matter how far they had gone, or how long they had

persisted in rebellion, the Lord was still ready and anxious to save

them. That they were not saved was entirely their own fault.

Some may argue that Christ did overturn the tables and scatter

their money thereby establishing the fact, as they see it, that He

would destroy their possessions. But, again, He was only giving

them an object lesson of the real truth that all the earthly treasure

in which they were putting their trust would be no support to them

in the hour of trouble. Instead, it would be swept away, even as the

coins were scattered in hopeless confusion across the pavement.

Rightly considered, Jesus Christ did exactly in the temple what He and His Father had done in the land of Egypt. He came to both with the offer of forgiveness, protection, and life. He showed each of them the terrible consequences of their continuing in their present course, in the hope that the realization of their need would prompt them to reach out for Godís solution to it.

†††† In both of these situations, God and Christ were living out the maxim of their lives, in contrast to that of the devil who is the destroyer. Christ expressed the truth of this in these words:

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ďThe thief does not come

except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

††††††††† I have come that they may have life,

and that they may have it more abundantly.Ē John 10:10.

 

His sorrow is:

ďBut you are not willing to come to Me

††††††††† that you may have life.Ē John 5:40.

 

 

 

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