Thursday, February 23, 2012

120223 - Exodus 08-09 - Signs and lying wonders

Thursday SOAP: The powers of Pharoah's magicians had limits. They themselves recognized those limits, and they also recognized what the limitless power Moses represented meant. Moses was not God; of that there was no question. In the works they saw the "finger of God," Jesus' idiom for the Holy Spirit in Luke 11:20. Is the prevailing secular worldview ready for the supernatural events the Bible says are coming? More to the point, are "Christians" ready for them?

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S: And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. (Exodus 8:18-19).

O: At each prior step, Pharoah's magicians were able to duplicate Moses' feats. (Ex. 7:11, 22, 8:7, 2 Timothy 3:8) Was it trickery? Or was there real supernatural power in their magic? I have no problem with either interpretation. The word translated "magician" only has the connotation of magic, as it is used elsewhere in the Bible for the magicians who couldn't interpret Joseph's Pharoah's dream, (41:8), and the ones in Babylon who couldn't interpret Nebuchadnezzar's dream. (Dan. 2:2) The etymology of the word has to do with "engraving" - so it would sound as if the magicians were actually scribes. The scribes in the New Testament were regarded as the experts in Judaism, so likewise, the scribes of Egypt were experts in the occult.

A: For hundreds of years, it has served the devil's purpose for the most part in the west to keep a low profile, concentrate on the temptations of the flesh, and foster a naturalistic, rationalistic worldview. We know that the one the Bible calls "man of sin" and "son of perdition" will add to deceit and unrighteousness "lying signs and wonders" (2 Thessalonians 2:9) and false Christs and false prophets also will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive even the elect, as if that were possible. (Mark 13:22) Satan has a limited amount of power and authority to do these things. These magicians, coming up against that limit, recognized that Moses served a greater power.

The world is not ready for these signs and lying wonders to begin in earnest. Today is the day of militant atheism, the "new atheism," (http://outcampaign.org/), not highly visible anti-Christ supernatural signs and wonders. I think about how the world is still reeling from the kind of anti-Christ belief that prompts people to fly airplanes into buildings. The world is comfortable with the kind of people who declare allegiance to a faith and perform religious rituals. The world is decidedly uncomfortable with people who really believe in supernatural power and act on that belief. It shows the vulnerability of their worldview, in that naturalism and the scientific method may be completely overthrown by a single exhibition of repeatable, incontrovertible supernatural power, whether God's or satan's. What will happen when this bursts on the world scene?

Maybe a bigger question is, what will happen to people attending our churches? If it's not possible to deceive the elect, what about the deceived but nominally Christian? Those who have "a form of godliness but deny the power" (2 Timothy 3:5)

P: Lord, you are ever, always our only hope. How should we pray against what we have never experienced? Please prepare your people and give us what we need at the right time, as you did for Moses, that the animating force of our lives might betray "the finger of God" and not of man.

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