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The Everlasting Covenant

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    God’s Purpose with Pharaoh

    “And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For I will this time send all My plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like Me in all the earth. For now I had put forth My hand, and smitten thee and they people with pestilence, and thou hadst been cut off from the earth; but in very deed for this cause have I made thee to stand, for to show thee My power, and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth.” 1Exodus 9:13-16. RV.EVCO 190.1

    The still more literal rendering of the Hebrew by Dr. Kalisch, reads thus: “For now I might have stretched out My hand, and might have smitten thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou wouldst have been cut off from the earth. But only for this cause have I let thee exist, in order to show thee My power, and that my name may be acknowledged throughout all the earth.” A close comparison will show that this idea is expressed in the Revised Version, as quoted above, but not so clearly.EVCO 190.2

    It is not the case, as is too often lightly supposed, that God brought Pharaoh into existence for the express purpose of wreaking His vengeance upon him. Such an idea is most dishonouring to the character of the Lord. But the true idea is that God might have cut Pharaoh off at the very first, and so have delivered His people without any delay. That, however, would not have been in keeping with the Lord’s invariable course, which is to give every man ample opportunity to repent. God had borne long with Pharaoh’s stubbornness, and now proposed to send severer judgments; yet He gives him fair warning, that even yet he may turn from his wickedness.EVCO 190.3

    God had kept Pharaoh alive, and had delayed to send His severest judgments upon him, in order that He might show unto him His power. But the power of God was being manifested at that time for the salvation of His people, and the power of God unto salvation is the Gospel. Therefore God was keeping Pharaoh alive, in spite of his stubbornness, to give him ample opportunity to learn the Gospel. That Gospel was as powerful to save Pharaoh as it was to save the Israelites.EVCO 191.1

    The revised renderings have been used because they are clearer than those of the common version, and not because the same truth is not set forth in each. Take the common rendering, “In very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee My power; and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth,” 1Exodus 9:16. and grant that it refers to the bringing of Pharaoh to the throne. Even then it is far from showing that God raised him up for the purpose of plaguing and killing him. The text says that it was for the purpose of showing God’s power, and causing His name to be known throughout all the earth. To infer that God can show His power and make known His name only by the destruction of men, is dishonouring to Him, and contrary to the Gospel. “His mercy endureth for ever.” 21 Chronicles 16:34.EVCO 191.2

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