Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 07/12/09
And the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews," Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth. But, indeed, for this cause I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power, and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.’”
We have noted that the Lord did not harden Pharaoh's heart until Pharaoh hardened his own heart in the first five plagues. Let’s take a look at the first five plagues.
In the first plague they saw the Nile river turn to blood (EXO 7:20). The Nile River turning to blood was a symbol of the death which takes place in the world.
In the second they saw the land of Egypt covered with frogs (EXO 8:6). This symbolized pride and arrogance). The frogs represented inflation, and therefore the pride and self sufficiency of the world, or the cosmic system.
In the third they saw all the dust and sand in Egypt turn into gnats on man and beast. This symbolized the uncleanness, the filth of the flesh (EXO 8:17).
In the fourth they saw swarms of insects upon the entire land of Egypt (EXO 8:24). This symbolized Beelzebub, the lord of the flies).
In the fifth they saw all the livestock of Egypt die while all the livestock of Israel lived (EXO 9:6). This symbolized rejection of the natural man.
So when it says, “and the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart” in the sixth plague, it does not mean that the Lord suddenly reached inside of his soul and grabbed his volition and moved it from positive to negative. It means that there have been five plagues up to this point, and at this point God would ordinarily take Pharaoh out by death. He would remove him from the earth. However, instead of doing that, He is going to allow him to go through plagues 6-10. He is going to allow Pharaoh to break the all time world record for hardness of heart and scar tissue of soul and still being alive. The interesting thing is that the Exodus generation of believers are going to tie this record. That's the direction in which we're going.
The Pharaoh of the Exodus is regarded by Israel as one of the greatest enemies of Israel of all time. The Jews have always historically looked at the Pharaoh of the Exodus as one of the worst, if not the worst. This is nothing more than transference arrogance. Transference arrogance is accusing someone else of that which is true about your own life. Let's note some principles then concerning transference arrogance:
1. Every believer has a sin nature and under the right conditions has the potential to be a walking bombshell ready to explode. This is why all believers must know their limitations and never be shocked at the capability of other believers. In fact, becoming involved in transference arrogance is the most subtle way to explode by way of self-righteous arrogance.
2. Joseph's brothers assumed in arrogance that once their father Jacob died, that Joseph would take revenge on them for selling him into slavery. This was transference arrogance. Those ten brothers were living fragmented lives, flawed even when living happily in Egypt. It was the brothers themselves who had motivational and functional revenge in their souls and they transferred their own flaws and sins to Joseph.
3. The brothers assumed that because they had such arrogant thoughts that Joseph had them also. Therefore, they concluded that Joseph was buying time, waiting to take his revenge on them when Jacob died. So they transferred their own arrogant and evil motivation and thinking to Joseph. But Joseph was not like his brothers who lived fragmented lives, with a fear of retaliation. From their own self righteousness and shattered lives, Joseph's brothers transferred their flaws to him.
4. Transference arrogance then is defined as the fragmented life which takes one's own flaws and transfers them to someone else. Actually, by living in transference arrogance you make your own life miserable and confused and horrible.
The application of humility to your life is to know your own limitations. For example, the greatest all-around genius who ever lived was Moses. Yet Moses exploded in his own life when he attempted to liberate the Jews from slavery the first time by killing a taskmaster. He turned to violence and force. The minute he became a fragmented person, he had to leave, and it took forty years to put the pieces back together before he could return. Only God could liberate the Jews, not Moses. Moses had to learn his own limitations, and in the process, learned humility so that he could become God's servant, an instrument for the deliverance of Israel. He could never have been so used by God forty years earlier.
How many times have you, aware of your own flaws and sins, assumed that these are the faults of others as well? Then you transfer to them your sins, failures, and faults. You accuse them, judge them, slander them, and think ill of them. A part of knowing your own limitations is to realize that those are your sins and flaws; don't transfer them to others. You must realize that everyone has a sin nature, everyone sins, and you are to work out your own salvation and not stick your nose into the affairs of others. If you do you will explode just like a bombshell through jealousy, bitterness, hatred, antagonism, self-pity, revenge motivation, or implacability. When we fall into these sins, we then transfer our flaws to others who do not have our flaws, failures, and sins. We think they are afraid, antagonistic, bitter, or jealous, when in reality they are not. As a result, we have no good relationships with people in life.
Under the principle of transference arrogance, you will discover a very simple principle in life: That those who make accusations and judge others are usually guilty of the very thing they judge others for. If they're not, they are usually doing things which a far more evil and wicked.
So, the Pharaoh of the Exodus is regarded by Israel as one of the most wicked enemies of Israel of all time. The Jews have always historically looked at the Pharaoh of the Exodus as one of the worst, if not the worst of all individuals in life. While at the same time beginning with the Exodus generation the same situation exists.
We are going to see a tremendous correlation between the hardness of Pharaoh's heart and the hardness of the Exodus generation.
and the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses. (EXO 9:12)
Moses knew this was going to happen. Pharaoh was a very strong man as a human being and totally wrecked with scar tissue of the soul. Pharaoh hardened his heart 10 times, and the Lord did the exact same thing. Actually Pharaoh did it to himself ten times, 10 being the number of completion. The Lord permitted him to stay alive and brought in the plagues which caused Pharaoh's heart to be hardened, and in that sense, he hardened Pharaoh's heart.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, let my people go, [release my people from slavery] that they may serve Me. For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth.’”
Now there is a mistranslation here. It should read, “For this time I will send all My plagues upon your heart,” The Hebrew word “leb” was not translated. This means that the hardness of the heart is so great that these plagues are going to go right straight to his right lobe and he is going to be as tough as a human being and a dictator can be. His heart is so hard that he will even allow his son to die because of the hardness of his heart. His hard heart meant stubbornness, he was inflexible, He was bullheaded, obstinate, tenacious, and yet he will never succeed. He holds the greatest power of any one man at that time in the world. The 18th dynasty had reached it's peak.
“For this time I will send all my plagues upon your heart.” (EXO 9:14)
These plagues will add scar tissue to the hardness of the heart. his probably has a record that has never been broken for hardness of the heart and scar tissue of the soul on an unbeliever.
No one ever had a greater chance for salvation than Pharaoh. However, because of hardness of the heart, he came up to a certain point as we will see and had to stop there. The same thing we have noted happened to Esau. He sought salvation with tears but his heart had become too hard. By the way that means that he sought it through emotion, and salvation has never been found through emotion, it is faith alone in Christ alone.
“For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth.” (EXO 9:15)
Remember that the Lord did not do this. He could have, and He would have been just in doing so, but He had another plan. He allows Pharaoh to continue living. Therefore when it says that “the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart” it means that every time that He permits him to live, He gave him one more time to say “No”.
In that sense, and only in that sense, the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart. He did not reach down inside of Pharaoh's heart and tamper with his volition at all.
So in the first 5 plagues it says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, now it says the Lord hardened it. Why? It is because the Lord just permitted him to stay alive. No one ever had such an opportunity to say “yes”. No one ever had so much strength from hardness of the heart to say “no”. For the very things that Pharaoh witnessed, people all over Egypt, and throughout the world also witnessed, and believed in the Lord. In fact, that's where your rabble or your so called mixed multitude or the Gentiles who went with the Jews in the Exodus came from.
“For if by now I had put forth my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth.” (EXO 9:15)
God could have killed Pharaoh at anytime, but He's keeping him alive for two very obvious reasons:
1. To show the devastating effects of hardness of the heart.\
2. To demonstrate his power throughout the entire world which will be the means of evangelization during the Exodus generation.\
“But, indeed, for this cause I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power, and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.” (EXO 9:16)
This means that He has permitted him to live on this earth in spite of the scar tissue of the soul or the hardness of his heart. If there was anyone that knew about power it was Pharaoh, but he's going to see a power that is far greater than his. It should have done to him what it did to perhaps thousands of people in his empire.
They believed, he did not!
So by saying “no” five more times, he established a world's record for hardness of the heart. Remember that all of this occurred before the Jews ever got into the desert. For two generations, as a result of one man's hardness of the heart, the name of Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echard was engraved throughout the entire inhabited earth. So we have an interesting scenario here. Pharaoh continued to use his own negative volition even though he saw more and more of God's power. When God would take away God's judgment, he saw God's grace. He saw the power of God. He saw the grace of God. Yet he rejected the Lord and he would not listen but hardened his very own heart.
Pharaoh used his own negative volition, even though, like the Exodus generation of believer's in the desert he saw more and more of God's power, and when God would take away the judgment, He saw God's grace.
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well‑pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved. And do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1CO 10:1-14)
So, in all 10 plagues Pharaoh used his own volition against increasing manifestations of God's power on the one hand, bringing in the plague or the judgment, and God's power and grace on the other hand, in removing it. So it was power and grace, power and grace. He saw both aspects of God's person. After each of the plagues Pharaoh demonstrated the garbage in his own soul synchronizing with his old sin nature. Pharaoh also demonstrated total lack of integrity after each plague when he agreed to release the Jews from slavery, and then in his great arrogance and his scar tissue of the soul, he refused. People with scar tissue of the soul and hardness of the heart have no integrity. There is, therefore, a pattern of emotional swings which accompany hardness of the heart and scar tissue of the soul. This is illustrated by Pharaoh's yes and no situation. Pharaoh had many opportunities for positive volition, but in each case Pharaoh expressed negative volition related to withdrawal, to garbage in the soul, to scar tissue of the soul and hardness of the heart. A life dominated by sins of arrogance and emotion