Monthly Archives: March 2017


Aaron occupies a unique place in the history of God’s people. He was endowed with special skills that made him useful to God, but he was not the leader into which Moses naturally grew. Presumably, he was a better public speaker than his brother Moses (Ex. 4:14), though Moses often told him just what to say (Ex. 4:28-30). In the Pentateuch, Moses very often connected his own name with Aaron’s name (e.g., Ex. 5:1, 4, 20; et. al.). In the instances where Moses was describing their genealogy, Moses placed Aaron’s name before his own (Ex. 6:20,26; Num. 3:1; 26:59; see also I Chron. 6:3; 23:13). This is probably because Aaron was the elder of Moses by three years (Ex. 7:7).

The relationship between brothers Moses and Aaron must have been good. As Moses knew of his Hebrew heritage (e.g., Acts 7:23-25; see also MOSES), Moses very likely could have known his brother while he was in Egypt and in Pharaoh’s court. We could speculate–and it would only be shear speculation–that, among others, Aaron kept his brother informed of the conditions of the Hebrews such that it made Moses want to go and see their condition for himself. But after Moses fled Pharaoh’s wrath and was in the wilderness, he was separated from his family for forty years (Acts 7:23; Ex. 7:7). Yet, after all those years, Aaron was still “glad in his heart” to see his brother (Ex. 4:14, 27).

From the Account, it would appear that Aaron wholeheartedly agreed with his brother’s, God ordained mission. Aaron was with Moses every step of the way. Even when Pharaoh was ready to relent and let God’s people go (albeit only to renig later on the promise), he called for both Moses and Aaron (Ex. 8:25; 5:4). When these brothers met for the first time in forty years, Moses poured out his heart to his brother about the things that had happened to him and when Aaron heard this, he didn’t call Moses mad, he didn’t distance himself from his brother, but he freely and willingly went with him, first to the elders of the people and then to Pharaoh himself (Ex, 4:27-31; 5:1).

While Moses did his share of speaking, Aaron was the spokesman, especially early on (Ex. 4:16). God did not speak to Aaron as He spoke to Moses (Ex. 33:11). But God spoke to Moses and Moses spoke to Aaron and Aaron spoke for Moses. Aaron was to Moses, as the prophets were to God (Ex. 7:1,2). This duo was so closely aligned in purpose that when ever God commanded Moses to do a thing, Moses often records “Moses and Aaron did so” (Ex. 7:19,20; cf. Ex. 8:5,6, 16,17, etc). When Korah led a rebellion, it was “against Moses and against Aaron” because, Korah alleged, they took too much upon themselves (Num. 16:1-3). It was Moses, however, who passed God’s judgement on them in this rebellion because Moses was the leader (Num. 16:4,5,8,15,16 etc.) .

We each have our roles to fulfill. Aaron’s role was not to be leader. Though Moses had given Aaron (and Hur) responsibility to judge certain matters while he was away (Ex. 24:14), when he tried this role himself he failed miserably. While Moses was receiving the law from God, Aaron submitted to the people and made a golden calf and said “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (Ex. 32:1-4). When Moses confronted Aaron, he asked him, “What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? (Ex. 32:21). Aaron’s response was to blame the people (Ex. 32:22-24). Aaron’s talents were needed in another role.

God wanted Aaron to minister unto Him in the priest’s office (Ex. 28:1). This was an important and necessary role. It involved not only making atonement for his own sins, but also for the sins of others (Lev. 16:6,11; 4:7-24; Heb. 7:27; 9:7). The glory and beauty of the holy garments bore testimony to the importance of this role (Ex. 28:2). More importantly, the typology of the old Testament priesthood foreshadowed the coming of the True Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man, and the great High Priest, Who is set at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens (Heb. 8:1,2).

Aaron was tempted and gave into temptation. Jesus Christ, was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. This allows Him to identify with the trials through we go in this life and help us when we boldly go to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:14-16). Aaron could offer the sacrifices which the law required, for himself and the people, but they could never really take away sin (Heb. 10:1-4). But because the Lord took on Him the seed of Abraham, and in all things be made like to His brethren, He is able to make reconciliation for us and succour those of us that are tempted (Heb. 2:14-18).

Aaron was not perfect. He built the golden calf and spoke out against Moses when he married an Ethiopian woman (Num. 12:1), but he was active in his role in the deliverance of God’s people. When his two oldest sons failed to follow God’s commandments and were struck dead by the Lord, he held his peace (Lev. 10:1-3). We know that Moses was not allowed to go into the promised land, but neither was Aaron, and for the exact same reason Moses was prohibited (Num. 20:24). The Lord told Aaron to go to the top of Mount Hor, along with Moses and Aaron’s son Eleazar, and Aaron was stripped of his priestly garments and they were given to his son. Aaron died on the top of Mount Hor and when the children of Israel saw it, they mourned for him thirty days.

When the fullness of time was come and the Lord came unto His own, who but a son of Aaron would announce His coming (Luke 1:5-13).

Eric L. Padgett


It is commonly assumed that Moses was unaware of his Abrahamic heritage when he was growing up in Pharaoh’s court. But scripture indicates that Moses knew all along from whence he came. His adventure as an infant in an ark of bulrush, purposefully placed among the flags of the river, was probably not just an act of desperation on his mother’s part, but possibly all part of a well-laid out plan to save this special child alive. It just happened to be where Pharaoh’s daughter was wont to bathe and she just happened to want a son.

Furthermore, his sister was strategically placed to allow her to suggest to Pharaoh’s daughter a very special woman to nurse the child–the child’s own mother! Would she, could she, withhold from her own son the knowledge that he was a Hebrew, a thing which Pharaoh’s daughter already knew? He apparently did know it for when he was grown the Text says “he went unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens” (Ex. 2:13). Paul said Moses “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” and chose to “suffer affliction with the people of God” (Heb. 11:24,25). Upon seeing the fate of his Hebrew brethren, he sought to rectify an injustice and slew an Egyptian and hid him in the sand (Ex. 2:12).

If he had some knowledge that God was going to use him to deliver the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, as some rabbinic traditions suggest (cf. also Heb. 11:23; Ex. 2:2), he may have thought he might do it on his own. But such a course of action never, ever works. God’s designs will be carried out in God’s own good time and in His own way (e.g., Gal. 4:4). Regardless, his actions incurred the wrath of Pharaoh and Moses’ own hopes of saving his brethren were dashed. Moses failed and fled for his life but God had His own plans for him.

Out in the dried up, harsh and unforgiving climes of the backside of the desert, on Mount Horeb, God appeared to Moses and informed him that he would deliver Israel out of Egypt (Ex. 3:7-10). Though he was once anxious to deliver his brethren out of bondage, Moses now only offered excuses to God as to why he was unfit to lead. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” (Ex. 3:11). “What shall I say unto them” when they ask “What is His name” (Ex. 3:13)? “But they won’t believe me” (Ex. 4:1)! But “I am not eloquent . . . but am slow of speech” (Ex. 4:10). “Send someone else, but not me” (Ex. 4:13). These are excuses, perhaps, with which none of us are unfamiliar. But when the LORD God almighty commands a thing, it will be done! And Moses went.

Whatever else might have been racing through Moses’ excited mind, from this point on he acted in great faith. Paul said “he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27). He faced great obstacles. His own people murmured against him ten times (Num. 14:22). Paul explicitly named Jannes and Jambres as having withstood Moses (II Tim. 3:8). Israel constantly joined themselves to false gods and acted sinfully. Enemies, like the Amalekites and the Midianites, constantly stood in the way as he led God’s people out of Egyptian bondage and to the promised land. But Moses endured and sang a song of triumph and faith after he and Israel were baptized in the sea and in the cloud (Ex. 14:21-15:19; I Cor. 10:1,2).

God spoke with Moses as He spoke with no other. God spoke “face to face, as a man speaketh unto a friend” (Ex. 33:11). This was not literal. What Moses saw was the similitude of the Lord, for no man could see God’s face and live (Ex. 33:20; Num 12:8). But because Moses was faithful in all his house, he could speak to God intimately and freely, and God would not speak to him in dark speeches (Num. 12:6-8). In this respect, there arose not a prophet since in Israel, like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew (Deut. 34:10). However, Moses, by inspiration, did prophesy of One Prophet, like unto Moses, which was to come from among them and to Whom they should hearken (Deut. 18:15-18).

When the Lord stood on the Mount of Transfiguration, along with Moses and Elijah, Moses was able to speak with the Lord in person (Matt. 17:3; Mark 9:4). Then Moses spoke to God face to face. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know the contents of their conversation! There, on the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter foolishly suggested that three tabernacles be built, one to honor Christ, Moses and Elijah (Matt. 17:4). But God spoke from heaven saying of Christ, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him” (Matt. 17:5). After Pentecost, Peter finally understood, that Jesus was the One to Whom Moses’ prophesy of another prophet like unto him pointed (Acts 3:19-24).

Moses gave the children of Israel the law. The underlying principles of that law are the foundation for all the laws in western, civilized society. The law, itself, however, was given to the Jews. It served it’s God ordained purpose to expose sin and bring us unto the Christ (Rom. 3:20; 7:7; Gal. 3:24). As John states, the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). That Old Covenant was nailed to the cross and now we have a better Covenant, based on better promises and better blood (Col. 2:14; Heb. 7:19,22; 8:6; 9:23; 10:34; 11:35, 40; 12:24). And now we, after we have passed through the waters of baptism, may sing the New Song of Moses and the Lamb (Rev. 14:1-3; 15:3) as we strive to enter that better, heavenly country (Heb. 11:16).

Eric L. Padgett


Lessons can be learned, not only from those who are held out in the Bible as examples of faith and good works, but also from those who were not. On one occasion Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32), a woman who infamously “looked back” on Sodom and Gomorrah and was turned into a pillar of salt. She is held up not as an example of faith and obedience, but she is set forth as a warning to those who would be otherwise. Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, is another such example (II Pet. 2:15). Pharaoh is another.

The word Pharaoh, which means “great house,” was the title of the ruler of Egypt. Throughout the Bible, there are over ten different Pharaoh’s mentioned. The Pharaoh with which this study is interested is the Pharaoh of the Exodus, which was probably Thuthmose III, who would have been ruling in 1446 B.C. when the Exodus took place. If this is the Pharaoh, then we can look on his mummified face, for it is still extant. We can look in the face of the man who opposed Moses and God.

When Moses had received a commission from God to demand the release of His people from Egyptian bondage, Pharaoh responded, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go” (Ex. 5:2). Pharaoh’s attitude toward God is not unlike the attitude which many manifest today. They do not retain God in their knowledge (Rom. 1:28). God is not in their thoughts (Psalm 10:4). But Pharaoh would learn just Who God was and is.

Through a series of ten, horrific plagues, the Lord God of Israel would strike fear into the hearts of Egypt’s population, confound their magicians and humble their defiant king and bring him to his knees. These plagues were designed to strike at the very core of Egypt’s pantheon of gods, including the Pharaoh, himself. They were designed to show that neither Egypt’s gods, nor Pharaoh, who viewed himself as a god, could stand against the LORD God of Israel. A great cry went up in Egypt when the Lord smote the firstborn of Egypt, both man and beast, and there was not a house where there was not one dead (Ex. 12:30; Psalm 135:8). Pharaoh was powerless to stop it.

God said He would harden Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 4:21; 7:3,13). Yet, in reality, it is the Pharaoh, himself, that hardened his own heart (Ex. 8:15, 32; 9:34) when he rejected the Lord’s commands and His warnings through the plagues. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13). Like Nebuchadnezzar, it was hardened through pride (Dan. 5:20). It was hardened when he harkened not unto God or inclined his ear to God’s word (Jer. 7:26). While Moses said God would harden Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 14:17), Samuel tells us it was the Egyptians and Pharaoh who hardened their own hearts (I Sam. 6:6).

While the Bible tells us that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, it does not tell us the means by which He did this. Often, when God is said to have done a thing, the agency is not immediately mentioned. God said “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth” (Gen. 6:7,13). But the agency through which this was accomplished was the waters of the Flood (Gen. 6:17). Abraham is said to have pursued and brought back Lot and all the goods that were taken with him (Gen. 14:16). But who doubts that his servants carried out much of the work (Gen. 14:15)? Jesus “made and baptized more disciples than John” (John 4:1), though Jesus, Himself, never personally baptized anyone (John 4:2). God hardened Pharaoh’s heart through the instrumentality of circumstances and His word (cf. e.g. Ex. 7:2; 8:15,19,32, etc).

God raised up Pharaoh for the purpose of demonstrating His sovereign power and proclaiming His name throughout all the earth (Ex. 9:16). Paul quoted this verse to show that God, like a potter over the clay, can do with it whatsoever He wishes (Rom. 9:17-21). Nothing in this suggests that God chose one and rejected the other with regard to salvation. Nothing in this suggests that Pharaoh could not have changed. Indeed, God calls upon Pharaoh to repent (Ex. 10:3). God knew and foreknew the character of the men involved and used them to glorify His name.

Today, we are solemnly warned not to harden our own hearts. “Today, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb. 3:15; 4:7). Jesus asks this question: “Have ye your heart yet hardened?” (Mark 8:17).

Eric L. Padgett


It is understandable, though not excusable, that Jacob would favor Joseph. Joseph was the son he had long sought from the wife he truly loved born in a time of great adversity in his life. But that special favor bestowed on Joseph served only to alienate him from his brothers. Of all people, Jacob should have understood that favoritism in the family by the parents can only lead to hurt feelings and betrayal.

The jealousy his brothers felt toward him was aggravated by Joseph’s own actions, albeit unintentionally. Besides the coat of many colors–which may have signified to them that their father had greater hopes for his favored son than just being well dressed–his report to their father of their evil actions further strained their weakened feelings of brotherly love. Then, his repeating his God-inspired dreams agitated his brothers’ feelings to the breaking point.

But in these things Joseph does not appear to have been malicious. When he brought back the evil report to their father he was simply relating the truth. When he repeated the inspired dreams, he was speaking only what God had revealed, not trying to goad his brethren. But sometimes, the truth is not easily accepted. Sometimes the truth even hurts. Paul had to ask the Galatians Christians, “Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16). Even our Lord said that the world hated Him because He testified that it’s works were evil (John 7:7).

As Joseph was coming to his brethren, they colluded how they might take his life. How lonely and tragic it must be to have your own brethren despise you so much they want to kill you, especially when you have done nothing amiss. The Bible doesn’t go into detail, but Joseph must have heard their very hateful remarks as they forcefully stripped him of his robe and cast him into a pit. What kind of jealousy can lead to this kind of treatment? They were so calloused that they then sat down to eat (Gen. 37:25).

Our Lord must have felt so very alone when He came unto His own and they received Him not. Indeed, not only did they not receive Him but actively sought His destruction (e.g., John 7:1). He was scourged, mocked, had a crown of thorns crushed on His head, smitten with their hands, humiliated, despised and rejected of men, bruised, and spit upon. Even while in the last, agonizing moments on the cross, the crowds jeered Him. His loneliness was manifested when He cried out upon the cross, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). All for simply speaking the truth.

Joseph faced many temptations and trials in his life and he persevered through each of them. Surely nothing could have been harder on his faith in God than having his brethren reject him and seek his death or sell him. But he also faced the temptation with Potiphar’s wife. He faced the temptation of being thrown into prison for something he did not do. He faced the trial of seemingly haven been forgotten about in prison. But through it all Joseph kept his faith in Jehovah and he kept his life pure. I know of no negative thing that is written about Joseph.

Through these series of humbling incidents, Joseph went from the pit to power. He was sold and imprisoned but was ultimately raised to be second only to Pharaoh over Egypt (Gen. 41:40,41). How like our Lord Who was rejected but then exalted by the Father to His own right hand. The life of Jesus was truly pure for He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).

Joseph’s trust in God is clear all the way through the account of his life. In the end, after all is said and done, while his brothers cower in fear for any retaliation Joseph might take, Joseph humbly forgives them all. Just as our Lord said while on the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”(Luke 24:34). Joseph saw his life in terms of God’s providence. While his brothers “thought evil against” him, Joseph said “God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen. 50:20).

The life of Joseph, and hopefully ours, is one of purity, perseverance and and trust on God’s providence.

Eric L. Padgett


Jacob formed the third part of the well-known patriarchal triad of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (cf. Matt. 22:32). The Lord Himself was the first to use this description to Moses when He described Himself as their God (Ex. 3:6). Despite the fact that very early on Jacob’s life was not always exemplary, God chose him to bear twelve sons, which would become twelve tribes, which would become strangers in a land not theirs but would come out a great nation, just as God had promised Abraham (Gen. 15:13,14).

Jacob was born in answer to the prayers which Isaac offered on behalf of his wife, Rebekah (Gen. 25:21). Like Sarah, she had been barren. But while Sarah bore a child through God’s miraculous intervention, such was not necessarily so in Rebekah’s case. But God’s providence was at work. Even before his birth, God had chosen Jacob for a purpose (Gen. 25:23; Rom. 9:11-16). Paul showed how this demonstrated God’s sovereign will (Rom. 9:11-24).

As noted above, Jacob’s early life was less than exemplary. First, he deceived his brother into giving him his birthright (Gen. 25:29-34). A birthright was the right of the firstborn son to receive special blessings, including a double portion of the personal inheritance (Deut. 21:15-17). Later, he deceived his father into giving him the blessing that was to be Esau’s (Gen. 27:1-40). Jacob’s name meant “the supplanter” and he lived up to his name (Gen. 27:36). Instead of trusting the Lord and asking Him for guidance, he always acted on his own.

The deception in these instances was bad enough, but Jacob and Rebekah knew of the promises of God. God had fulfilled His promise that through Isaac the seed and blessings would come. Nevertheless, just as Sarah had tried before her, Rebekah was trying to force God’s hand into bringing about the advancement of her son on her own terms. We cannot force God’s hand. Even our Lord prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). One has only to look at the religious world to see the attempts by man, over and over again, to circumvent God’s will with their own.

Every sin has its consequence (Rom. 6:23). Sometimes the consequences are immediate. Jacob’s deception naturally resulted in Esau’s intense anger. This kind of anger–the kind of anger that wants to kill–reaches back to the immediate, post-garden days of the Adam and Eve family (Gen. 4:1-8). However, such anger should not be nursed or fed (Eph. 4:26). Anger, even the small kind, resteth in the bosom of fools (Ecc. 7:9). Although Esau had sworn to kill Jacob, in the end his anger was abated because of his own prosperity and he reconciled with his brother. What a contrast with Cain and Abel!

You can see the transformation in Jacob’s life. Early on Jacob is not recorded as speaking to God or even acknowledging Him. Somewhere along the way to Haran, as he fled Esau, God appears to Jacob above a ladder to heaven and gives Jacob the same promise He had given to Abraham. Jacob there vows that if God bless him, then God shall be his God (Gen. 28). When Jacob is ready to leave Laban, he finally acknowledges that God had been with him (Gen. 31:5,42).

Now, before this reunion and reconciliation with Esau, Jacob dwelt in fear of meeting his once angry brother(Gen. 32:11). Not only does he pray to God, which is something he was not said to have done heretofore, but he acknowledges that he was unworthy “of the least of Thy mercies,” and admitted his fear (Gen. 32:9-11). To prepare him for this meeting, and for the rest of his life, the Lord causes Jacob to wrestle “a man,” which was, presumably, the Lord. (Jacob says that he has seen God “face to face” (Gen. 32:30) and the Angel says that Jacob had power with men and with God (v. 28)). With that new courage, Jacob faced his brother and the two were reconciled.

The God of Abraham and the God of Isaac had truly become the God of Jacob! The Lord changed the name of Jacob, the supplanter, to Israel, the prince of God (Gen. 32:28). At God’s command, Jacob goes back to Bethel and builds an altar to the Lord and has his people put away their gods (Gen. 35:1-15). Through God’s providence, he ultimately ends up in Egypt so that his seed would be saved from famine and become a mighty nation that comes out of Egypt (Ex. 12:35,36; Ps. 105:37). Finally, in faith, he blesses his sons and both the sons of Joseph (Heb. 11:21).

Eric L. Padgett