(Ex 7:1) The Lord said, “I am going to make you like God to the king, and your brother Aaron will speak to him as your prophet. This is something very scandalous for the Egyptians and also Israel to make a human being equal to God, but God himself says to Moses that I have made you like God to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron as your prophet. Why did God say this? One reason was that Pharaoh did not accept the God of the Israelites. When Moses came the first time and spoke to Pharaoh, he said who is this god of Israel so that I should set your people free. I do not know who this God is. He insulted the God of Israel, and he was not ready to believe, therefore, God said to Moses, “See I have made you like God to Pharaoh” so that means he only needs to deal with Moses, he does not need to deal with God. Also, Aaron is his prophet, so Aaron has to wait for Moses’ command and Moses has to wait for God’s command, but Pharaoh has to listen to Moses’ command. There is also another implication for (Ex 7:1). As we are aware, Moses is the prefiguration of Jesus. There are several connections between Moses and Jesus. We know Moses was the Prince of Egypt but he voluntarily left the kingdom of Egypt and came to the wilderness, and he lived there 40 years. He married Jethro’s daughter, but he was nothing – he was only a shepherd for 40 years. Jesus being the prince of heaven, left the heavenly kingdom, and came to this earth. When he started His public ministry, we know he went through 40 days of fasting and was in the wilderness. When Moses was in the wilderness, God appeared to him encouraging him to start the exodus, giving him a command to save the Israelites from Egypt.
(Ex 4:18-19) Then Moses went back to Jethro, his father-in-law, and said to him, “Please let me go back to my relatives in Egypt to see if they are still alive.” Jethro agreed and bid him good-bye.While Moses was still in Midian, the Lord said to him, (Exodus 4:19) “Go back to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead.” This implies Moses was in Midian and there were several seeking his life. Children were killed, but those seeking Moses’ life were dead and Moses took his wife and his sons, put them on a donkey and went back to the land of Egypt with the staff of God in his hand.
An angel appeared to Joseph and said,(Mt 2:20) “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go back to the land of Israel, because those who tried to kill the child are dead.” In the New Testament the same sentence is applied to Jesus. (Mt 2:21) “Joseph got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel”. Similarly, in the Old Testament, Moses got up and took his wife and children and went to Egypt.
(Ex 4:20)“Moses took his wife and his sons and put them on a donkey and went back to the land of Egypt and Moses carried the staff of God in his hand.” If we read the Jewish book Mishnah, there is a passage called Midrash, the Hebrew Rabbis give a clarification about the staff which Moses used. It reads that the staff that Moses used was created on the sixth day when God was creating everything on the sixth day. God also created a staff and gave it to Adam and then this was handed over to the next generations. From Abraham, Isaac, Jacob who crossed Jordan, it was handed to Judah, to Tamar and then successfully handed over to their descendants. In the end, it came into the hand of Moses and handed over to Aaron. Later it landed in the hands of David. David killed Goliath with this staff in his hands and later it was handed over to Saul and then Solomon and likewise to the kings of Israel. The staff disappeared during the time the first temple was destroyed, and no one knows where it is now, however the Mishnah says the staff will be handed over to the Messiah who is going to come to save humanity. The staff is called the Sceptre of authority and we can see several verses in the Old Testament referring to the Sceptre that will be handed over to the King of Israel. This Sceptre is now made manifest as the Holy Cross of Jesus. The Cross is the Sceptre of the Messiah – a sign of authority, a sign of deliverance and a sign of salvation through which Jesus saved the whole world. Moses saved the Israelites from Egypt with the same staff; David saved the Israelites from Goliath and with this same staff Jacob crossed the Jordan river and with the same Sceptre Jesus destroyed sin on Mount Calvary.
(Ex 7:2) “Tell Aaron everything I command you, and he will tell the king to let the Israelites leave his country.” So, God said to Moses “you are going to be like God and Aaron will be like a prophet”. As I said, if Moses is the shadow of Jesus and Moses is lesser than Jesus, and Moses is like God then Jesus is true God. Moses is seen and shown as like God. This is a very important sentence. Normally it is impossible for a human being to see another human being as god but God himself said clearly to Moses, “I will make you like god for pharaoh. Here we see Moses as the pre-figuration of Jesus. Therefore, we can 100% believe that Jesus is the true God who is already prophesied in the Old Testament. Therefore, all those who stand in the name of Jesus are prophets because Aaron is considered as the prophet of Moses. Aaron is appointed to be the prophet of Moses. If that’s the case all those who believe in Jesus, and accept Jesus as the Lord and Saviour will be called prophets. We know in the church when you receive baptism you receive three duties – the priestly duty, the kingly duty and the prophetic duty. So, all those who receive baptism are prophets.
(Exodus 7:3) “But I will make the king stubborn, and he will not listen to you, no matter how many terrifying things I do in Egypt. Then I will bring severe punishment on Egypt and lead the tribes of my people out of the land”. This is a very controversial subject because how or why did God harden the heart of Pharaoh and at the same time, he’s inflicting punishment upon Pharaoh. So, people ask what it means when God says ‘I will harden Pharaoh’s heart and make him stubborn.’ When God had earlier spoken to Moses in Chapter 3 to go to Egypt and ask Pharoah to let the Hebrews go, he knew that Pharoah would not let them go, unless compelled by a mighty hand. I will harden Pharaoh’s heart and make him stubborn. God said that because among the Hebrews there is a belief that God is the ultimate source of everything. Anything that happens in this world whether good or bad everything comes from God. If something evil happens, it means God punished them. If an evil spirit troubles somebody, it is as though God sent the evil spirit to punish him. This means that it wasn’t God who hardened the heart of Pharoah, he himself was already having hard-heartedness. In the book of Samuel, we see Saul was afflicted by an evil spirit when Saul committed sin. God was angry with king Saul. (1Sam 16:40) “Now the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.” How can God send any evil spirit? These so-called evil spirits, initially they were good angels and these good angels turned into fallen angels and these fallen angels are the reason why there are evil powers in this world. God created angels in the whole world therefore ultimately God is responsible for even an evil spirit, this was Hebrew belief. Similarly, God created Pharaoh and God created the heart of the Pharaoh and now Pharaoh hardened his heart so it seems as though God is responsible. It is not right to blame God for Pharoah’s hardness of heart. Since God knew it already, he warned Moses and said he would perform miracles through Moses. Just as Moses was a miracle worker, Jesus – the real Moses worked miracles. Let’s continue reading verse 4 where God says he will lead his tribes out of Egypt by inflicting severe punishment on them. Dear brothers and sisters, on one side a person is hardening his heart, but on another side, God is hardening his action. If you look into the plagues, they initially start small and then turn into bigger calamities. The Word of God clearly says whenever God speaks to human beings, he wants the people to listen and not harden their hearts. The consequence of hardening the hearts and being stubborn would mean facing the compelling hand of God. God wants to save us just like the Israelites. They wanted to continue living in Egypt, they didn’t want to listen to Moses, so God forcefully took them because they belonged to God, they were his children, and he wanted the best for them just like he wants the best for us. They were ignorant, under slavery and he decided to save them. If we believe in Jesus Christ, and accept him as our Lord and Saviour, God will save us, and use his power to deliver us. If we are rebellious and have hardened our hearts, then God will use a compelling hand, a mighty hand against us. The more rebellious we are towards God, the more we may have to go through the experience of wilderness. The Israelites were supposed to reach the promised land within 11 days, but they took almost 40 years to reach the promised land because they were stubborn. (Heb 3:15) “Today if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion”. When you hear the voice today, God is asking us to give up our bad habits, and not harden your hearts. We must stop the computer games we are addicted to, or come out of our wrong relationships. The Lord asking us to not to harden our hearts. The Lord is speaking to each and every one of us, “don’t do this don’t do that” do not harden your heart. (Heb 4:7) “This is shown by the fact that God sets another day, which is called “Today.” Many years later he spoke of it through David in the scripture already quoted: “If you hear God’s voice today, do not be stubborn.”
(Rom 2:5) But you have a hard and stubborn heart, and so you are making your own punishment even greater on the Day when God’s anger and righteous judgments will be revealed. God says when your heart is hardened, and you commit sin, you think I will start a new life next month, and go on postponing your repentance. By your hardened heart, you are storing wrath for yourself. Pharaoh hardened his heart each time at the end of each plague. The plagues kept increasing and he lost his son, his kingdom, his army in the Red Sea.
(Ps 95:8-9) “Don’t be stubborn, as your ancestors were at Meribah, as they were that day in the desert at Massah. There they put me to the test and tried me, although they had seen what I did for them”.
(Prov 28:14) “Always obey the Lord and you will be happy. If you are stubborn, you will be ruined”. We know Pharaoh was hard-hearted and stubborn and so calamity clung to him, and he was ruined. Anyone who is hard-hearted and stubborn, there is calamity waiting for us. We have to cooperate with God because God has decided to save us.
(Zech 12:7) “…and made their hearts as hard as rock. Because they would not listen to the teaching which I sent through the prophets who lived long ago, I became very angry.
(John 12:40) “God has blinded their eyes and closed their minds, so that their eyes would not see, and their minds would not understand, and they would not turn to me, says God, for me to heal them.”
Let us continue (Ex 7:5-6) “The Egyptians will then know that I am the Lord, when I raise my hand against them and bring the Israelites out of their country. Moses and Aaron did what the Lord commanded”.Moses and Aaron were a failure in front of Pharaoh, but they were not afraid and went again. Though it was a humiliation for them to go again to be dishonoured, they went. When we stand as a prophet and representative of God, we will be humiliated by the world not once but many times, but we must still continue our work, and still continue our mission. Don’t back off because we are not sent by any worldly leaders, but by the living God. Therefore, there will be humiliations, there will be rejections. God told Moses and Aaron to go and meet Pharoah and they obeyed. Moses was 80 years old, and Aaron was 83 when they spoke to Pharaoh. They were old, retired men but yet working hard for God.
(Ex 7:8-9) “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “If the king demands that you prove yourselves by performing a miracle, tell Aaron to take his walking stick and throw it down in front of the king, and it will turn into a snake.” The word used here is snake which is an ordinary snake. (Exodus 7:10) “So Moses and Aaron went to the king and did as the Lord had commanded. Aaron threw his walking stick down in front of the king and his officers, and it turned into a snake”. The word used in Hebrew is Tannin which means a sea monster not an ordinary snake. A sea monster is huge like a crocodile. The symbol of Egypt and Pharoah was a sea monster. In movies, on top of Pharoah you will see a sea serpent. When Moses performed this miracle, the staff or walking stick did not just become a snake but a powerful sea monster. It meant the complete destruction of Pharaoh and his kingdom with one staff which God has given to Moses and the salvation through the Cross which God was going to bring on Mount Calvary.
(Ps 74:13) “With your mighty strength you divided the sea and smashed the heads of the sea monsters;” (Ez 29:3) “Say that this is what the Sovereign Lord is telling the king of Egypt: I am your enemy, you monster crocodile, lying in the river. You say that the Nile is yours and that you made it”. God is saying to Pharoah – the king of Egypt that he is against him, against the great monster in the river.
(Ex 7:11-13) “Then the king called for his wise men and magicians, and by their magic they did the same thing. 12 They threw down their walking sticks, and the sticks turned into snakes. But Aaron’s stick swallowed theirs. 13 The king, however, remained stubborn and, just as the Lord had said, the king would not listen to Moses and Aaron”. Here the Hebrew word used refers to ordinary snakes. Aaron’s staff swallowed them. Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them just as the Lord had said.
(Ex 7:14-19) “Then the Lord said to Moses, “The king is very stubborn and refuses to let the people go. 15 So go and meet him in the morning when he goes down to the Nile. Take with you the walking stick that was turned into a snake and wait for him on the riverbank.Then say to the king, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to tell you to let his people go, so that they can worship him in the desert. But until now you have not listened. Now, Your Majesty, the Lord says that you will find out who he is by what he is going to do. Look, I am going to strike the surface of the river with this stick, and the water will be turned into blood. The fish will die, and the river will stink so much that the Egyptians will not be able to drink from it.’”The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron to take his stick and hold it out over all the rivers, canals, and pools in Egypt. The water will become blood, and all over the land there will be blood, even in the wooden tubs and stone jars.”
This was the first plague – water turning into blood. Just like Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine and the last of turning wine into blood. The Egyptians were so proud of their gods. Pharoah was one of their ten most powerful gods. The first God whom they loved a lot and depended on was Hapi – the god of Nile. Yet Aaron’s staff touched the water of Nile River and turned it into blood. Their god of the river couldn’t protect them. The Lord defeated their first so-called god of the Egyptians. It showed God’s mighty hand and power in front of Egyptian gods.
(Ex 7:20-21) “Then Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the presence of the king and his officers, Aaron raised his stick and struck the surface of the river, and all the water in it was turned into blood. The fish in the river died, and it smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink from it. There was blood everywhere in Egypt.
However, (Ex 7:22) “Then the king’s magicians did the same thing by means of their magic, and the king was as stubborn as ever. Just as the Lord had said, the king refused to listen to Moses and Aaron.
There is a difference between the power of the magicians of the Egyptians and God’s power. It means evil does have power but evil power is inferior to the power of God. If they were powerful, when God turned water into blood, their power should have changed the blood back into water, and cleanse the water. (Ex7:23–24) “Instead, he turned and went back to his palace without paying any attention even to this and all the Egyptians had to dig along the Nile for water to drink for they could not drink the water of the river.”
The evil powers also took some water and turned it into blood. But the evil powers can never do anything constructive. Hence, they could not turn the blood back into water. The evil powers in this world can never do anything good because it’s only God the all-powerful who does good.