THE WIND THAT SEPARATES THE WATER


Wednesday July 1, 2020


(BRITISH MUSEUM- EGYPT DEPARTMENT)

KINGDOM ADVENTURE
by GILDA PINEDA DIONELA

 

I visited the British Museum several times because you cannot finish it in one go. When I visited the room of Egypt in the British Museum on the upper level of the building, seeing mummies and human shaped coffins held me back. I looked intensely on the glass frame to make sure it was properly sealed. Coming from a place where coffins are buried 6 feet under the ground, the sight brought back a superstitious belief I had as a kid. Then I thought of the verse “greater is He who is in me than whoever are in these mummies”. I freely walked around after that realization. In the lower ground of the British Museum, you will find the Rosetta Stone. It is a black granite stone that has several languages and scripts engraved on it. This stone led to the understanding of hieroglyphic, the writing of ancient Egypt. It recorded the history and culture of this great nation termed as Egyptology. On the same level, there are the sculptures of the Quartzite head of Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III, head of King Thutmose I, Thutmose III and Rameses II among many others.

After Noah’s flood, people of all nations came from Noah’s three sons; Shem, Ham and Japheth. The descendants of Ham is enumerated in Genesis 10:6. One of them was Mizraim, the forefather of the Egyptians. The original name for this group of people was Kemet, meaning “the black land” or “the land of Ham”. Also mentioned in Genesis 50:11(ESV) “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians. Therefore, the place was named Abel-mizraim”. Today, the English name “Egypt” came from an ancient Greek word “Aígyptos,” which was “Egypte” in Middle French. It was derived from “Hwt-ka-Ptah” (Haka- Ptah) or “home of the soul of Ptah”. Ptah was creator-god, god of craftsmen and architects in Egyptian mythology. The Bible being the most reliable book of books contained the story of the Pharaoh and the former Pharaoh’s grandson by adoption named Moses in the book of Exodus.

The word Exodus simply means way out. There were two unnamed Pharaohs referred to in the Book of Exodus; 1) when Moses was born and ordered the killing of all Hebrew baby boys, and 2) new Pharaoh Aaron and Moses confronted to let the Israelites go. Identifying these two Pharaohs challenges many Bible scholars. Specially the Pharaoh when the Israelites left Egypt. There are two settings on this single event of Israel leaving Egypt; the Early Exodus and the Late Exodus. The most popular contender, whose statues I saw in the British Museum were Thutmose III (1446BC) for Early Exodus and Rameses II (1270BC) for Late Exodus.

Whether it was Thutmose III or Rameses II, certainly neither of them was more powerful than God. The story of Moses delivering the Israelites out of Egypt couldn’t be found in the existing annals of one of the most powerful nations in the history of mankind. There was an Egyptian practice that failure or defeat of a Pharaoh, whom they considered as a living god was hidden to the next generations. However, there is granite stela of Amenophis III re-used on the back, by Merneptah (1211-1202 BC) widely known as stela of Merneptah that mentioned a violent confrontation with the Israelites in the southern part of Palestine. This is the first time “Israel” was referred to outside the Bible. Moses is the greatest prophet that wrote 5 books of the Bible (except Numbers 12:3). To extract it in few sentences is not good enough but reading the Bible is the best way to know more. In the story, the Egyptian Pharaoh not only oppressed the Israelites but also ordered the killing of Hebrew babies. God saw the misery of the people. He heard their cries and He was concerned of their suffering. God came down to rescue them. He asked Moses to gather the elders. And then Moses and the elders went to the king of Egypt to deliver the message of God. The book of Exodus is full of wonders. It tells how God of the powerless slaves outstretched His arms and with mighty acts of judgement redeemed His people. There were 10 plagues against the Egyptians namely; water that turned to blood, frogs, lice and gnats, flies, pestilence of the livestock, boils on the skin, hail, locust, darkness and deaths of the firstborn. After leaving Egypt, Israel was born as a nation.

The Passover

The Israelites were commanded to prepare a Passover lamb. Its blood was put on the two doorposts and lintel of houses. The destroyer didn’t enter and strike the house of those who obeyed. However, he killed all the firstborn of Egyptians. Then the Pharaoh let the people go. When the Israelites were crossing the Red Sea, the Pharaoh and its chariots pursued them once again. God commanded Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a STRONG EAST WIND all night and converted the sea into dry land and the waters were divided. The God of creation showed that He is an Omnipotent God. Wealth, intelligence and false gods were proven helpless when the Living God shows His might! Every false Egyptian God was destroyed including the firstborn of the Pharaoh. God’s miraculous power displayed through life and nature that He alone gave and created.

Today natural calamities and wonders of nature occur from time to time. For some people it doesn’t mean anything. But to those who seek His face heard the voice of God with these natural phenomena. God is gracious that He gave both believers and non-believers common grace which includes intelligence. Sadly, there are some who, instead of thanking God for the little knowledge bestowed upon them are ungrateful to use that knowledge. When you read the book of Exodus you will encounter the phrase “God hardened the heart of the Pharaoh.” Some people interpret it as a “mean” God to intentionally harden the heart of the Pharaoh. Before the Lord hardened the heart of the Pharaoh, it was already hard. The Pharaoh already rejected the Living God and considered himself the living god and worshipped many other false gods. The Lord intervened for the sake of the oppressed and show Egypt that He is Lord over the earth and universe.

Altogether, the book of Exodus is pointing to the One Powerful and Just yet Loving God. He redeemed powerless people first and then gave the ten commandments to follow in order to enjoy the salvation they received from Him. Since the Old Testament, God first redeemed the people then the people changed themselves for Him and not the other way around. The Passover is the foreshadow of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. That whosoever believes in the power of His blood, the destroyer couldn’t touch from that day onwards till the end of time. After the redeeming power of His blood He gave the most important commandment in the law of Moses; Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind; and Love your neighbour as you love yourself. The Passover Lamb gave birth to a nation of Israel, the everlasting Lamb, Jesus Christ gave birth to a spiritual Israel composed of many nations as promised by God to His faithful servant Abraham.



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