|BIBLE STUDY SERIES #68, 69 and 70|
14 February, 1993
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
Our series of Bible Studies has brought us to the last Chapter of the Book of Genesis, in which Jacob-Israel has died after blessing each of his sons. We had seen the marvellous promotion of Joseph in the Land of Egypt, and how his character had drawn blessing to all around him, including his own family. His brothers had sold him into slavery, but, as Joseph had later explained, "God did send me before you to preserve life". Now their father, Jacob, had died in Egypt, and had been carried to his burial by a great and magnificent company in a state funeral. We see now what followed, reading from Genesis 50:22.
22. And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.
23. And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph's knees.
24. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
25. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
26. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
We might note that one hundred and ten years was considered the ideal lifespan by the Egyptians. Saying that a person had died at one hundred and ten years of age was, it seems, equivalent to saying that a person had enjoyed a full life. The New Bible Dictionary, under the heading "Joseph" states that Joseph's death at that age "would signify divine blessing upon him". However, there is no suggestion that Joseph did not, in fact, exactly fill that number of years in his lifetime, for we read that he saw his great grand-children, and, according to the analysis of the Hebrew by Kiel and Delitzsch, Ephraim's "sons of the third link", and hence Joseph saw his own great-great grand-children before he died.
In the same connection, Chapters LXI-LXIII of the non-Biblical Book of Jasher, mentions the ages of most of Joseph's brothers at their deaths. Reuben, it seems, died at 125 years, Simeon at 120, Levi at 137, Judah at 129, Dan at 120, Naphtali at 132, Gad at 125, Asher at 123, Issachar at 122, and Zebulun at 114, so Joseph died at a younger age than those of all those brothers.
The same considerations which had required that the body of his father, Jacob-Israel be embalmed were even more applicable in the case of Joseph's own body. Jacob-Israel's body, had needed to be sustained relatively free of putrifaction for the period of official mourning in Egypt and then to be transported over many miles through the Sinai wilderness as it was taken in state to the burial in Canaan. Although that process would have consumed a period extending over quite a number of days, it would amount to a relatively brief time compared to that which would intervene before Joseph's own body would finally be laid to rest, for Joseph's body, on the other hand, must remain with the descendants of the Children of Israel in Egypt for perhaps another several generations, and after that it would also have to be taken through the wilderness heat to the Promised Land. Moreover, included in that time before the burial of Joseph could finally take place would also be that further delay of forty years while the children of Israel moved about the wilderness of Sinai, before they finally came into that Promised Land and fought their way towards its occupancy. We know that this was done from Exodus 13:19 and Joshua 24:32.
We have reached the end of the Book of Genesis, and now we come to the Second Book of the Bible, Exodus, Chapter 1:1-11, for the continuation of our Bible study. We read:
1. Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob.
2. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,
3. Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,
4. Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.
5. And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.
6. And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.
7. And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
8. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
9. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:
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.
11. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.
Here is recorded the start of the oppression of Israel. The Book of Jasher gives more details. It speaks of Pharaoh having designated Joseph as regent while the young Pharaoh was maturing, and of Joseph superintending over all Egypt, effectively as king. While Joseph appeared popular with the vast majority of the Egyptians, the Book of Jasher mentions in chapter LVIII: "But there were some people amongst them, who did not like him, saying, no stranger shall reign over us; still the whole government of Egypt devolved in those days upon Joseph, after the death of Pharaoh...".
The feelings of those few appear to have become general after Joseph's death, as chapter LIX:28 says "And it came to pass after the death of Joseph, all the Egyptians began in those days to rule over the children of Israel..." Chapter LXIII continues:
2. And it came to pass after the death of Levi, when all Egypt saw that the sons of Jacob the brethren of Joseph were dead, all the Egyptians began to afflict the children of Jacob, and to embitter their lives from that day unto the day of their going forth from Egypt, and they took from their hands all the vineyards and fields which Joseph had given unto them, and all the elegant houses in which the people of Israel lived, and all the fat of Egypt, the Egyptians took all from the sons of Jacob in those days.
3. And the hand of all Egypt became more grievous in those days against the children of Israel, and the Egyptians injured the Israelites until the children of Israel were wearied of their lives on account of the Egyptians.
4. And it came to pass in those days, in the hundred and second year of Israel's going down to Egypt, that Pharaoh king of Egypt died, and Melol his son reigned in his stead, and all the mighty men of Egypt and all that generation which knew Joseph and his brethren died in those days.
5. And another generation rose up in their stead, which had not known the sons of Jacob and all the good which they had done to them, and all their might in Egypt.
6. Therefore all Egypt began from that day forth to embitter the lives of the sons of Jacob, and to afflict them with all manner of hard labor, because they had not known their ancestors who had delivered them in the days of the famine.
7. And this was also from the Lord, for the children of Israel, to benefit them in their latter days, in order that all the children of Israel might know the Lord their God.
8. And in order to know the signs and mighty wonders which the Lord would do in Egypt on account of his people Israel, in order that the children of Israel might fear the Lord God of their ancestors, and walk in all his ways, they and their seed after them all the days.
We are about out of time. Let me leave this meditation with you. History records many occasions wherein one people felt abused by another people, and this most frequently happened when they were living in extremely close but fear-filled proximity to one another. Unequal land ownership and unequal wealth often formed an excuse of contention wherein outsiders could be perceived as alien robbers.
Scripture demonstrates, I believe, that Almighty God desires the descendants of Israel to live as a separated people, and that is so for a very good reason. I believe that Israel's experience of Egyptian bondage can demonstrate what that reason is.
I believe that a people committed to the God of Scripture must not compromise God's directions in order to please aliens adhering to alien creeds. The tranquil path of God's peoples to fulfilment must not be complicated by alien impositions and demands for rights which lie at cross-purposes to those of God. Israel is the people whom God created, chose and designated as a kingdom of priests towards other peoples,
I believe that the multicult stew, currently in vogue among, and assiduously cultivated by the non-Christian governmental theorists in most of the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon world of modern-day Israel, is not consistent with God's Plans. Its resultant social cross-currents will fail to create tranquility or to improve relationships between peoples. It is sometimes necessary for God to create an Exodus of His people out from the midst of another in order to permit of their proper development under leaders chosen from among themselves. A fear of the stranger who gains advance to a position of power in the land is ultimately not conducive to Israel's service before Almighty God.
I believe that separation allows Israel to solve its own problems unafraid of the threat of imposed alien philosophies and rule. People who have control over their own lives have greater opportunity to build that confidence and self respect which forms the only reasonable basis for tranquil relationships with others, either social or national. God has prophesied and promised the cleansing enforcement of such a modern-day Exodus to latter-day Israel. We shall speak of this as we continue our studies in the Book of Exodus on succeeding programmes.
21 February, 1993
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
On our former programmes, we have studied the Scriptural account, found in the Book of Genesis, which explains the manner by which Almighty God has planned the course of events down through history to the present time. We have seen how, from the call of Abram, through the life of Isaac to the death of Jacob-Israel, God had purposed the selection of one man, then one family, one tribe, and now, thirteen tribes, as the focal point of His work.
The line of descent through which The LORD would bring in His Kingdom was to be formed initially about that core nation of thirteen tribes, composed, as we have seen, of all-too-human folk. The Nation of Israel would have to stumble and learn to serve her LORD, and events would bring a sequence of oppression alternating with blessing in response to their actions, in order to generate some understanding of their calling.
There is abroad today, incidentally, an egalitarian spirit that seeks to deny God any choice in such matters. Some believe God a myth of primitive times, and others, mis-read scripture in order to arrive at the conclusion that God does not "discriminate." The theme runs something like this: "God either does not exist, or is impartial. Therefore He cannot choose to bless one nation so as to make it, in some respect superior to the rest of mankind". This ignores several considerations.
(a) As the designer and creator of everything in time and space, God is sovereign, and can do what He chooses to do. He can take any course of action that pleases Him, to effect the purposes which He held from the beginning. From the aged loins of one Patriarch, He made a nation to serve His purposes. (In Romans 9:21, Paul exclaims "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?")
(b) God does not choose to favour one nation above another without reason. The LORD desires His Kingdom to have some hierarchy of governmental appointment. In Matthew 5:19 Christ mentions that, in The Kingdom, some will be called "least", while others will be called "great", and Jesus told those He had chosen as His appointed disciples in Matthew 19:28, that "ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
In the Kingdom, there will be a structure among the groups of mankind. It is essential to have such an hierarchy for purposes of organization and, at least for a while, the dissemination of instruction. Every civilized people has developed some form of co-operative hierarchy, be it patriarchal, or of some other variety. God has chosen to use one nation. Blessings upon that people accrue only in relation to the need to train and equip that people for service.
In our last programme we had arrived at the point at which Joseph and all his brothers had filled their long lifespans and passed from the scene. We saw that there had arisen a generation in Egypt which did not know the good years under Joseph. They were resentful of the advantages which the children of Israel had been granted in the former generation, and they had begun to wrest the vineyards and fields away from the Israelites. Under their new Pharaoh, they began in earnest to oppress Israel.
Where the Exodus account is brief, the non-Biblical Book of Jasher sometimes gives details which amplify and tend to explain the Biblical account. Where the Biblical account speaks of a new Pharaoh speaking to the Egyptians and saying that the children of Israel "are more and mightier than we...", Chapter LXIV of the Book of Jasher speaks of the circumstances which gave rise to these words.
It seems that on one occasion when three hundred thousand of the Egyptian army had been called upon to defend the land against a huge enemy force, Egypt had attempted recruitment among the Israelites but had only raised the token force of 150 men. Fearing to have any Israelites among them in the battle, the Egyptians assigned these as a reserve force in the rear. However, as the battle proceeded to turn against the Egyptians, they retreated and called in these Israelites who, though numerically few, managed to turn defeat into victory. The Egyptians, thinking the battle lost, had fled, leaving the Israelites to hold the line alone, and in consequence those Israelites had later given expression to their anger by taking vengeance on some of the Egyptians for thus placing their small force in jeopardy.
It seems that this demonstration of Israelite prowess brought fear and consternation to the hearts of the Egyptians. Thus they assembled to consult with Pharaoh.
The Jasher account proceeds in Chapter LXV:
1. And it came to pass after these things, that all the counsellors of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and all the elders of Egypt assembled and came before the king and bowed down to the ground, and they sat before him.
2. And the counsellors and elders of Egypt spoke unto the king, saying,
3. Behold the people of the children of Israel is greater and mightier than we are, and thou knowest all the evil which they did to us in the road when we returned from battle.
4. And thou hast also seen their strong power, for this power is unto them from their fathers, for but a few men stood up against a people numerous as the sand, and smote them at the edge of the sword, and of themselves not one has fallen, so that if they had been numerous they would then have utterly destroyed them.
5. Now therefore give us counsel what to do with them, until we gradually destroy them from amongst us, lest they become too numerous for us in the land.
6. for if the children of Israel should increase in the land, they will become an obstacle to us, and if any war should happen to take place, they with their great strength will join our enemy against us, and fight against us, destroy us from the land and go away from it.
The answer of the Pharaoh is consistent with the Biblical version, but Jasher explains what Pharaoh's advice was in more detail:
7. So the king answered the elders of Egypt and said unto them, this is the plan advised against Israel, from which we will not depart.
8. Behold in the land are Pithom and Rameses, cities unfortified against battle, it behoves you and us to build them, and to fortify them.
9. Now therefore go you also and act cunningly towards them, and proclaim a voice in Egypt and in Goshen at the command of the king, saying,
10. All ye men of Egypt, Goshen, Pathros and all their inhabitants! the king has commanded us to build Pithom and Rameses, and to fortify them for battle; who amongst you of all Egypt, of the children of Israel and of all the inhabitants of the cities, are willing to build with us, shall each have his wages given to him daily at the king's order; so go you first and do cunningly, and gather yourselves and come to Pithom and Rameses to build.
11. And whilst you are building, cause a proclamation of this kind to be made throughout Egypt every day at the command of the king.
12. And when some of the children of Israel shall come to build with you, you shall give them their wages daily for a few days.
13. And after they shall have built with you for their daily hire, draw yourselves away from them daily one by one in secret, and then you shall rise up and become their task-masters and officers, and you shall leave them afterward to build without wages, and should they refuse, then force them with all your might to build.
14. And if you do this it will be well with us to strengthen our land against the children of Israel, for on account of the fatigue of the building and the work, the children of Israel will decrease because you will deprive them from their wives day by day.
So that was the plan. Get Israel to build alongside of the Egyptians for wages, thus taking them from their wives, and making them weary with the heavy labour. For a while, the Egyptians would continue to build with them, and all would be paid, but then the Egyptians would unobtrusively withdraw themselves, stop paying the wages for the work, and become task-masters to force the work to continue. However the account explains of one tribe, that they did not fall for this inducement. Verses 32 and 33 of this Jasher account say:
32. But the children of Levi were not employed in the work with their brethren of Israel, from the beginning unto the day of their going forth from Egypt.
33. For all the children of Levi knew that the Egyptians had spoken all these words with deceit to the Israelites, therefore the children of Levi refrained from approaching to the work with their brethren.
Of all the Israelites, verse 38 says: "...but the more they afflicted them, the more they increased and grew, and the Egyptians were grieved because of the children of Israel." The two accounts are parallel, and suggest a common source, for Exodus 1:12-14 states:
12. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.
13. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:
14. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
All this is prophetically speaking, an anti-type for the oppression of the descendants of Israel which is to happen in the last days, for Isaiah 11:11 says "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea."
Our Lord speaks in Revelation 11 of the latter days in time to come. He promises in verses 3 and 4:
3. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4. these are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
A candlestick is a symbol for the activity of Israel in relationship to God and an olive tree its national aspect among other nations. Thus in Revelation 11:3-4 we have church and state in modern Israel lands, as God's two witnesses, the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth during a prophetic twelve hundred and sixty "days", following which they will be rendered as dead in verses 7-8: "And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." That is their condition for three and a half "days" after which they stand upon their feet to the consternation of their enemies, and are accorded God's acceptance.
Thus, Israel of these last days is to be revived through a new form of Exodus for which the old Exodus of Biblical description is the symbolic pattern.
We shall have to postpone further examination of the subject for the next programme, but I think that from the account which we read today you may have some appreciation of the subtlety of the forces who planned, and who, today, continue to plan, Israel's subjugation.
28 February, 1993
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
In the present series of Bible Studies, we have been following the Scriptural account of the Great Plan of Almighty God for the renewal and revival of all of fallen Creation. We have seen how God chose one man, the Patriarch, Abraham, through whom He would bring one family, one tribe, then later, thirteen tribes of Israel, and still further down the concourse of history, whole nations of peoples, to serve His mighty purposes.
The studies have shed light upon the various chapters of the Book of Genesis, and now, we have moved on into the the first chapter of the next book of the Bible, the Book of Exodus.
We are, in our imagination, viewing the Land of Goshen, a portion of the Nile Delta wherein we see, at the time of our account, the various tribes of Israel, now labouring in hard bondage under unsympathetic Egyptian taskmasters as they build the treasure cities for Pharaoh.
We draw our thoughts into focus as we continue to read Exodus 1, from verse 15:
15. 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:
16. And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife 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.
The Hebrew for that word "stools" is noted, in the Companion Bible, to be "two stones", and that source indicates the stone bath in which an infant would be bathed as a possible explanation. Pressure groups among the advisors to Pharaoh must have been in agreement with Pharaoh's policies, for we see that they were being implemented with some degree of vigour and success insofar as the suppression of Israelite freedoms were concerned.
This is not the only attempt which Satan has made to eradicate that racial stock which Almighty God has planned to use in bringing forth a Saviour, and a means of establishing His Kingdom on the earth. Appendix 23 in the Companion Bible lists and explains quite a number of parallel instances wherein Satan attacked the Godly line to Christ, first attacking the Patriarchs, then the nation, the Royal Family, and Christ Himself. Among others, it notes such instances as Pharaoh's pursuit of Israel to the shores of the Red Sea, Queen Athaliah's murder of all the "Seed Royal" except the hidden babe Joash, Haman's attempt in the Persian Court when Israel was in captivity and King Herod, the Edomite, who ordered the slaying of the babes in Bethlehem.
The continued existence of sons would perpetuate Israel as a nation, but the Egyptian authorities obviously must have assumed that if there were no sons in Israel to marry them, the daughters would be forced to find husbands among the Egyptian populace, and thus the people of Israel would disappear permanently through miscegenation with other races.
We see from the account, however, that these efforts were obviously not enough to diminish the numbers of Israelites in the land to a level sufficiently low to satisfy the population planners. Further efforts involving infanticide were obviously deemed by the authorities to be desirable.
Thus we find the Hebrew midwives, those medical personnel who were the Israelitish authorities directly responsible for overseeing the arrivals of Israelitish infants into the world were here being ordered to implement a policy of infanticide. This policy was designed to murder male Israelite infants in order to reduce the population of Israel and thus to guarantee their continued suppression in bondage. Keil and Delitzsch state that the midwives, named in verse 15, are Hebrew, and "were no doubt the heads of the whole profession, and were expected to communicate their instructions to their associates." The account continues at Verse 17:
17. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
18. And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?
19. And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.
The non-Biblical Book of Jasher does yield some amplifying details. It explains that Pharaoh threatened these midwives with the deaths of themselves and their households by fire if they did not comply with his order. However, it explains that many Hebrew women went to the fields to deliver their own children, and thus escaped Pharaoh's servants.
As Israel continued to grow in numbers, concern in Pharaoh's court increased, and wise men were consulted, of whom one, according to the Book of Jasher, was Reuel. After reviewing God's care of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through similar trials, Reuel's advice was to stop the persecution or else to send Israel out of the land, but this advice apparently greatly angered Pharaoh so Reuel left for Midian in shame according to this account.
Another advisor whom the same reference calls Balaam the son of Beor suggested that as water was not among the previous trials through which God had saved those Patriarchs, drowning in the river would be an effective solution.
As one further point of interest, The Book of Jasher explains how some of the hidden Israelitish babies were located by the Egyptians. It says that Egyptian women took their own babies to Goshen and when they cried the sound of this crying induced the hidden Israelite babies to cry also, thus revealing their hiding places so they could be reported to Pharaoh's executioners.
Here we find a situation developing which I believe may show some distinct parallels to the political pressures in many of the Anglo-Celto-Saxon lands which we of the British-Israel-World Federation believe to be inhabited by modern-day Israel. I have previously mentioned Scriptural indications that these Anglo-Celto-Saxon lands of modern-day Israel must pass through a form of Exodus from the present world system and that Exodus will, I expect, run in a pattern somewhat parallel to the events which resulted in the release of ancient Israel in the account presently before us. Moreover, I believe that, in this, we are to experience the equivalent pattern of release, not through our own efforts, but through the interventions of Almighty God.
In that connection, I note what I believe to be an interesting and suggestive parallel to Pharaoh's orders as I ponder the pro-abortion and multi-cult legislation being so widely advocated and implemented in the lands presently containing the bulk of the modern-day descendants of Israel. The variance in the ages of the infants to be done to death is but a matter of a few months. In the sexist evaluation of those to be extinguished, I find a disturbing reminder of the more strident feminist tones which are heard expressing today's demands for the right to effect a somewhat parallel result. The Pro-Life stance might then equate to the reaction of the Godly midwives which is described in Verse 17 of the Biblical account. Continuing at Verse 20:
20. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
21. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.
The very threat which, according to the Book of Jasher, Pharaoh had issued to the midwives for non-compliance was, it seems, made the basis for a corresponding blessing by God because of their faithfulness. However Pharaoh persisted in his policies, as we see in Verse 22:
22. 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.
Pharaoh and his servants wanted the females as submissive slave labour and they appeared to be less of a threat than the males so were to be permitted to live. Next week we shall proceed to Exodus 2 and the birth of Moses, God's "Man of the Hour", to effect His purpose of bringing forth the Children of Israel from Egyptian Bondage.
Of the Tribe of Levi, God is about to bring forth a son through whom He will eventually move to effect His purposes.
We shall also find some interesting details amplifying that passage in some other references next week. As our time is nearly up for today, perhaps I should make some short comments by way of meditation upon that which we have studied. One thing which ought to be pointed out is that it is frequently in times of trouble or stress that human minds are forced to focus upon the things that really matter in life. Frivolities are cast aside as the things of major priority are forced to take a central position in the mind. In the bondage which has come upon Israel in Egypt, there is developing a new growth of commitment to God, and to the things which He desires of His Israel peoples.
However, we ought, in conjunction with that observation, to note that God is never slow, nor is He lacking in strength or total detail of plan to effect the salvation of His Own People. He has provided, right from the first instant of Creation, every detail in the total concourse of history to bring about His purposes. Scientists speak of an "uncertainty principle", and of "chance", but if we know God's ways, we see that there can be no such thing, in the final analysis, as "chance". Nothing is "uncertain" in the mind of God. He has foretold what is to happen, and His Word is never wrong or mistaken for He knows all things.
We know this, for each time there has appeared some threat to those who follow Him, that threat has been miraculously turned into a magnificent victory, yielding praise to Himself, and peace and joy to His people. The outcome is as certain as the outcome of a story portrayed in a film which has already been completed. The person viewing it for the first time may be on edge as the hero or heroine faces overwhelming danger, but if the final scene is a total victory, then the matter is fore-ordained. There will be no chance that things will have any other outcome. The course of the world's history has as certain a final outcome. We are assured of this because we know the maker thereof. He is totally trustworthy, and He has told us so! May our people find rest, peace and assurance in that thought.
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