Pastor Jeremy M. Thomas
Fredericksburg Bible Church
107 East Austin
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624 830-997-8834 email@example.com
C0608 – February 22, 2006 – Ex 5:1-2 – Slavery, Freedom & Ancient Egypt
GOD DEMONSTRATES HIS SOVEREIGN POWER – EXOD 5-11 Chapters 5-11 the contest between YHWH and Pharaoh with Moses as mediator. YHWH will demonstrate that He is sovereign even over the most powerful man on earth, Pharaoh, a man who, in Egyptian eyes, was a god who communed with the gods and was mediator between heaven and earth.
KINGDOM OF GOD VS KINGDOM OF SATAN To appreciate the Exodus it must be understood in its larger historical context and the Kingdom of God vs. the Kingdom of Satan.
At creation God made man in His image and gave him tenant possession of the world. Man was to multiply in numbers and manage his tenant possession for God. By multiplying the whole of nature would come under God’s rule through man. This was the initiation of the Kingdom of God. However, Adam disobeyed God’s law of the Kingdom resulting in the loss of his tenant possession. Consequently it fell into the hands of the tempter, and the world became the Kingdom of Satan. This is why Satan is called “the god of this world”. That is why Satan offered all the kingdoms of the world to Christ (Luke 4:1ff).
The basic promise of the Kingdom of Satan is that it can provide security from disruptions (e.g. military, famine, pestilence, chaos, etc…) and that man can save himself through his own sufficient works. The ultimate goal is independence from God. The means of fulfilling the promise and attaining the goal is human works. The human race bought into this false promise and built the Tower of Babel, the first observable spiritual and political form of the Kingdom of Satan.
At this point, God called Abraham out of the Kingdom of Satan and promised a future Kingdom of God. Abraham would be the first member of His Kingdom. This Kingdom was based on verbal promises made by the covenant making, covenant keeping YHWH who furthered His kingdom through Isaac and Jacob. The basic promise of the Kingdom of God, via the Abrahamic Covenant, is a specific real estate to be owned and enjoyed by Abraham and his offspring under a King. This Kingdom will provide worldwide blessing. The ultimate goal of the Kingdom of God is the availability of salvation to all mankind in the presence of God Himself. The means of attaining these goals and fulfilling these promises is God’s grace. The Exodus provides the first visible form of the Kingdom of God when the nation of Israel was born out of Egypt. Egypt was the visible form of the Kingdom of Satan and Israel the visible form of the Kingdom of God. The two kingdoms stood in total contrast at every point.
Kingdom of Satan
Independence from God
Kingdom of God
A real estate, a King, worldwide blessing
Salvation available to all mankind in God’s presence
The most striking contrast is that the Kingdom of Satan produced slavery while the Kingdom of God produced freedom.i Thus, the story of the Exodus is the story of freedom from slavery by God’s redemption. The NT teaches that unbelievers are slaves to sin (Rom 6:6, 7) and that true freedom is freedom from the reigning power of sin over our lives. The only escape from such bondage is redemption in Jesus Christ and then considering ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ Jesus (Rom 6:11). If you are in Christ you are free no matter what your earthly circumstances.
Since the Tower of Babel whenever a local form of the Kingdom of Satan is born the citizens have surrendered their freedom either voluntarily (by deception) or involuntarily (by force). Thus, there is the problem of freedom and slavery which is vital to understanding the Exodus event
BASICS OF SLAVERY AND FREEDOM Because of the Fall man is born with a sin nature which ultimately works out in personal sin against God. The ultimate desire of the sin nature expressing itself in various ways is to escape responsibility to God. One tactic of the sin nature is to attempt to hide from God (e.g. masking responsibility by drug/substance abuse, committing evil deeds at night, evil thoughts, imagining alternate worldviews to explain away the God of the Bible). The ultimate is to escape God completely by attaining “autonomous freedom”.
Autonomous freedom means total independence from God and His laws. This is the ultimate goal of the Kingdom of Satan. This kind of freedom was illustrated well by Michelangelo’s statues of men “tearing themselves out of the rock.”
These statues make a real satanic and humanistic statement: “Man will make himself great. Man as Man is tearing himself out of the rock. Man by himself will tear himself out of God’s form and free himself from it. Man will be victorious” (altered quotation from Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?, 71). Fallen men think that if they can attain this kind of freedom then they will be truly free. However, it actually results in increased slavery…
Consequences for Individuals. In God’s universe “that which a man reaps he also sows” (Gal 6:7). There are always consequences for our actions. These cannot be escaped. The first step for those seeking autonomous freedom is to deny God’s existence (atheism). God’s word says atheism destroys the mind. Professing to be wise they become fools. The second step is God gives them over to worship the creation rather than the Creator. The third step is heterosexual immorality. The fourth step is homosexual immorality. The fifth step is the committing of the 22 abominable acts listed at the end of Romans 1. This whole process which begins with atheism and has as its goal autonomous freedom actually produces slavery. As such, when applied to the State/Nations at large there can only be…
Consequences for the State. Gathering large numbers of men together who all seek autonomous freedom only compounds slavery. We watch and learn the methods of other depraved men, increasing our corporate IQ, as we attempt to achieve the ultimate goal of autonomous freedom. But because autonomous freedom is only an illusion it only increases slavery. In the end, individual minds expressed corporately result in further destruction of our minds, further foolishness, further opportunities for corrupting our bodies heterosexually and homosexually and furthering crime through abominable acts. All this is the judgment of God for our suppression of the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18). It gets to the point where individuals and society actually approve of others who do such horrors because if we were to judge them we would in essence be judging ourselves since we do the same things (Rom 1:32-2:1).
Politics of Guilt. To erase the moral guilt that results from such a lifestyle the brilliant State and National Leaders create problems that don’t exist (e.g. Global Warming) and use scare tactics to manipulate people through worldwide media into believing their lies. Finally, those who created the problems to begin with gather everyone on their team and develop a solution (to a problem that doesn’t exist). By following the protocol’s solution we become our own saviors (salvation by human works) and we mask the guilt of our licentious lives. Rousas Rushdoony called this the “politics of guilt” and said,
The politics of the anti-Christian will…inescapably be the politics of guilt. In the politics of guilt, man is…drained in his social energy and cultural activity by his overriding sense of guilt and…masochistic activity. He will progressively demand of the state a redemptive role. What he cannot do personally, i.e., to save himself, he demands that the state do for him, so that the state, as man enlarged, becomes the human savior of man. The politics of guilt, therefore, is not directed as the Christian politics of liberty…the creation of godly justice and order, but the creation of a redeeming order, a saving state…The politics of guilt cultivates the slave mind in order to enslave men, and to have the people themselves demand an end to liberty. Slaves, true slaves, want to be rescued from freedom; their greatest fear is liberty…Even as a timid and fearful child dreads the dark, so does the slave mind fear liberty: it is full of the terrors of the unknown. As a result, the slave mind clings to the statist or state slavery, cradle-to-grave welfare care, as a fearful child clings to his mother. The advantage of slavery is precisely this, security in the master or in the state. (Rousas Rushdoony, Politics of Guilt and Pity, 9, 28, 29ff)
America has already been enslaved in our minds by the brilliant expressions of moral rebellion through many of our State and National leaders who desire to be the embodiment of the State and serve as models of the Savior. Their models mask the guilt temporarily but only lead toward further slavery even embedding in the minds of individuals a desire for slavery because it promises security and cradle-to-grave welfare. The irony of the situation is that the depraved mind seeking autonomous freedom actually ends up in slavery, even desiring slavery (e.g. communism). The Hebrews are in a slave situation in Egypt. They have been in bondage for 400 years. I want you to see how everything I’ve described to you about slavery and freedom has been teaching you about the mentality of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. These people would rather be slaves than free!
Exodus 14:11-12Then they said to Moses, "Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? "Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians '? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."
They’re angry at the one who provided their deliverance! They would rather be slaves to the Egyptians than have freedom (also see Exod 5:21; 15:24; 16:2; Ps 106:7)! It’s just like Rushdoony said, “Slaves, true slaves, want to be rescued from freedom; their greatest fear is liberty.” They don’t know what to do with freedom. They are afraid of the unknown! How are we going to feed 2,000,000 people per day in a wilderness? How are we going to get water for 2,000,000 people per day in a wilderness? How are we going to defend ourselves against the well-trained Egyptian military? We want to go back to Egypt. At least there we had three square meals a day and security! Out here we’re just going to die. Mentally, the Hebrews were still thoroughly entrenched in the Kingdom of Satan. They would rather operate on the basis of human works than God’s grace. The Psalmist said of this incident
Psalm 106:7Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses, But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
The God who judged Egypt and led them out by a might hand with mighty wonders, can He not provide food, water, and security in the wilderness? They didn’t understand. They were so rooted in the slave system, they were so rooted in human works that they were still unable to trust that YHWH would provide by His grace. They wanted to go back to Egypt and be slaves rather than be wholly dependent upon God and enjoy true freedom.
What is true freedom? True freedom is functioning to the full capacity of our creaturehood. We are free when we live within the form which God made. We are free when we live in accordance with how we are made. Freedom only comes by redemption. Israel will be given the Law at Mt Sinai and this Law will reveal more of the form of God’s created order. The Law was never meant to prevent freedom. It was meant to increase freedom. It could do this because it outlined God’s form and how to live in it. The NT commands do the same. They are not meant to hinder or prevent freedom. When we obey them we enjoy freedom to a greater degree. When we disobey them freedom is lost. This is one reason it is important to know and obey the commands of God. God wants us to be free. Since sin causes slavery God wants us to be free from sin (Rom 6:11). The Israelites don’t understand this even after the Exodus. They want to go back to slavery and be prevented from true freedom. In God’s view of freedom there are also consequences for the individual and the state.
Consequences for Individuals. If sin and guilt caused slavery then divine forgiveness of sin provides freedom. His forgiveness comes on the basis of grace and through means of faith. When this is accomplished He gives us the Spirit to enable us to obey and live wisely (Rom 8:4).
Consequences for the State. In Exodus, God is going to provide freedom through the blood atonement of the Passover, which pictures Christ’s future sacrifice for our sins. Only when the Israelites have faith in God’s provided atonement (putting blood over the door) do they enjoy freedom from Egypt.
So, the Exodus is basically a story about guilt and forgiveness. It’s a great story about freedom; freedom from the Kingdom of Satan only found in the Kingdom of God. And here we have the birth of the Kingdom of God.
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN CULTURE AND THE PHARAOH Now, chapter 5:1 brings us to the first conflict between Moses and Pharaoh.
Exodus 5:1-2 And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.'" 122 But Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go."
To appreciate this conflict we have to understand some things about Ancient Egyptian culture. First, the Egyptians placed great stress on the changeless and static elements of life. This is seen easily in the Egyptian pyramids which symbolized “the permanence and enduring Egyptian dynasties”. Change was considered the greatest evil and permanence the greatest good.
The Egyptian belief [was] that the universe is changeless and that all apparent opposites must, therefore, hold each other in equilibrium. Such a belief has definite consequences in the field of moral philosophy. It puts a premium on whatever exists with a semblance of permanence. It excludes ideals of progress, utopias of any kind, revolutions, or any other radical changes in existing conditions…In this way the belief in a static universe enhances, for instance, the significance of established authority (Henri Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion, 3-22).
This belief gives great meaning to why Pharaoh would not let the people go (Exod 5:2)! The release of 2,000,000 slave laborers would shatter permanence. It would be a major disruption.
Second, in Egyptian eyes Pharaoh was a “god-king” (Horus), the son of the Hathor (the Mother of God) and of Re (Sun-Serpent). He was a divine mediator between heaven and earth. This gave the Pharaoh great prominence as portrayed in Egyptian art.
Figure A is a design found on an ivory comb (pre-Abrahamic). The god Horus, whose symbol was the falcon is represented on the comb in three ways. First, at the top he is the sun in the boat sailing across the sky. He provides the light that guides the way. Some Egyptian art portrays the falcon god Horus whispering in the ear of the Pharaoh giving him guidance. Second, beneath the boat are the outstretched wings symbolizing the sky. In the middle of the comb stands a falcon representing Pharaoh. He stands on a box containing a serpent and the name of King Djet. The two vertical symbols are scepters denoting “welfare”. The sign to the right of the box symbolizes life. Thus, the interpretation of this comb is that the god of nature forces, Horus, manifested in the sun and sky, is also manifested among mankind in the person of Pharaoh. Because Horus is in Pharaoh, life and welfare come from Pharaoh.
Pharaoh was the fountainhead of all authority, all power, and all wealth. The famous saying of Louis XIV, l’etat c’est moi [“I am the state”]…could have been offered by Pharaoh as a statement of fact in which his subjects concurred. It would have summed up adequately [Egyptian] political philosophy.
Figure B shows a temple column from early Egypt. On either side are welfare scepters. In this picture the welfare scepters are capped on either end by the “sky” symbol and the “earth” symbol. Between them is written the name of king Sahure. The writing says that the Pharaoh acted in harmony with nature and was himself a vital part of it. Thus, he was a sort of mediator between heaven and earth.
Figure C shows the close relationship between the “sun” and the “serpent” in Egyptian art and thought. To the Egyptian mind the “sun” and “serpent” shared similar characteristics. For example, they both moved in mysterious ways. The Egyptians thought the snake moved by its spirit, without either hands or feet. The sun moved in a similarly mysterious way. The snake illuminated the spiritual world giving knowledge of good and evil (perhaps a remnant from the Genesis narrative of the Fall in Gen 3:1ff). The sun illuminated the physical world. The Pharaoh was the son of Re, the sun-serpent god, and often wore the serpent on his helmet. Thus, Pharaoh was the source of knowledge in both the spiritual and physical realms. He was the source of knowledge in the spiritual and physical realms.
Figure D clearly shows the deity of Pharaoh. In this picture Ramses II is pictured alongside the gods Horus and Khnum. He is actually a little taller than both of them. The point is that he keeps company with the gods rather than with mortal man.
CONCLUSION The Exodus is the birth of the Kingdom of God in its first visible form and stands in contrast to the Kingdom of Satan embodied in Egypt. Under the Kingdom of Satan the basic promise is security from military defeat, famine, disease, chaos, etc…The means of fulfilling this promise is human works. The ultimate goal is total independence from God and His laws or what we call ‘autonomous freedom’. Ironically however, autonomous freedom is an illusion but the consequences are not. The first step in the downward spiral is atheism which results in the destruction of the human mind. The second step is worshipping the creation. The third step is heterosexual immorality. The fourth step is homosexual immorality. The fifth step is abominable acts. This downward spiral is only compounded on the national/state scale. The results are intensified as men come together and learn alternate methods of achieving autonomous freedom. The consequences for the state are always increased slavery, even to the point that the individuals in the state desire slavery rather than freedom. Such was the state of Egypt and the Hebrew people when YHWH gave them freedom by deliverance.
Divine freedom is built on the principle in Gal 6:7, whatsoever a man sows that will he also reap. God created boundaries that allow humans to function to their full capacity. Knowing these boundaries is crucial and following them results in the highest amount of freedom possible. Since we are born slaves to sin true freedom begins with forgiveness of sin (Rom 6:6, 7). At that point our citizenship is transferred from the Kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God. Further freedom can be achieved by learning God’s commandments and following God’s commandments since His commandments reveal the boundaries of the form God has created. We will experience ultimate freedom when we are completely free from our sin natures and dwelling in resurrection bodies. The Hebrews of Exodus are the picture of being enslaved to the Kingdom of Satan but transferred to the Kingdom of God by His grace and power operating through their faith in the substitutionary Passover lamb (which pre-figured Christ). After this, we realize they were true slaves because they wanted to be rescued from freedom. They wanted to be slaves rather than freedmen. It is not uncommon for new and immature Christians to fall back into the ways of the Kingdom of Satan, having not understood what God has done for them through Christ and His cross.
To get the full impact of why Pharaoh would not let them go it is crucial to understand Ancient Egyptian culture. First, the Egyptian concept of good and evil was totally contrary to Biblical revelation. They perceived the greatest good as static permanence. They greatest evil was any change. No revolutions, utopias or radical changes were accepted. If Pharaoh permitted the Hebrews to go he would be committing the greatest evil in the sight of his people. Second, Pharaoh was a god in Egyptian eyes. He was Horus incarnate, mediator between heaven and earth. The state was embodied in Pharaoh and as such he was the source of life and welfare as well as knowledge of the spiritual and physical realm. For a God he did not know to command him to let His people go was a direct affront to his proclaimed deity. If he let them go the Egyptians would be shattered by his insufficiency as their savior.
But that is precisely what YHWH intended to achieve. He intended to demonstrate His power as supreme to the power of Egypt and the demons behind Egypt by executing tremendous judgments (Exod 12:12). The Egyptian culture and its Pharaoh-god was the Kingdom which provided the most pronounced contrast between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan. By shattering it His name would be proclaimed throughout the earth.
i Humanism, which is an expression of Satanism, always produces slavery.
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