And Jehovah spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Show a wonder for you; then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it become a serpent.
And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so, as Jehovah had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.Exodus 7:8-10 ASV
The question of miracles in the Pentateuch troubles some people, but the authenticity and effectiveness of the miracles described extensively in Exodus are a vital and significant fact of the divine revelation which we hold these sacred books to be.
When man rejects miracles, he rejects God.
The real essence of miracle, then, is the acknowledgment that God is at work.
There is no way to get rid of miracles. The student of God’s Word is confronted with the miraculous and the supernatural on every page of it.
The three customary ways of trying to get rid of miracles are:
Outright denial of the supernatural, leaving man himself as the highest thing in the universe,
Finding “natural explanations” that actually do not deny the existence of God.
But at the same time remove Him from the scene, as for example, when Jesus’ walking on the sea is ascribed to an optical illusion caused by his walking NEAR the water! and
They are interpreted as purely psychological.
An example of this is the explanation of Feeding the Five Thousand as being due to mass psychology that resulted from the little boy’s willingness to share his lunch.
He brought it to Jesus, and the vast throng were so shamed by his sweet example that everyone brought out his own hidden lunch basket, and they all had a big feast!
Being unwilling to accept miracles, some writers will not admit that they belong in the Bible.
But seek some way to ascribe them to others than to the sacred authors. Rylaarsdam, for example, referred to the miracles in these chapters as “fantastic stories, piously-decorated accounts.”
Their value is symbolical rather than historical. Also, he and many others of the critical fraternity deny any Mosaic connection at all, postulating a ninth or tenth century date.
All such denials, however, are futile.
The Mosaic authorship of Exodus (and the whole Pentateuch) is established beyond all efforts of unbelievers to remove it.
That Moses wrote Exodus is supported by positive testimony beginning in his day and continuing into modern times through an unbroken chain.
In Moses’ day it referred to the people (Joshua 1:7). In David’s day the king referred tohis commandments … written in the law of Moses’ (1 Kings 2:3).
King Josiah discovered the book of the law’ in the temple (2 Chronicles 34:14). During the Babylonian exile, Daniel read of thecurse written in the law of Moses’ (Daniel 9:11).
Ezra the priest set up Passover services for the returning remnant as it is written in the book of Moses’ (Ezra 6:18).
The O.T. ends with Malachi’s exhortation, Remember the law of my servant Moses’ (Malachi 4:4).
The apostle Paul noted,Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on the law …’ (Romans 10:5f; Exodus 20:1).
Finally, the testimony of both the Jewish community and the Christian church throughout history has been to the effect that Moses wrote the Book of Exodus.
The weight of this ancient and enduring testimony cannot be overthrown by the mere speculations of `Johnny-come-lately’ skeptics.
Every device ever invented by unbelievers has failed to cast any reflection upon the epic truth that God through Moses gave us the Pentateuch, that its miracles are represented as historical events, designed and executed upon Egypt by God Himself through Moses and Aaron.
Also, the whole marvelous account of the delivery of Israel from Egypt is a type of the salvation of all men.
The universal and perpetual significance of these wonderful events, therefore, far more than justifies such a divine intrusion into human affairs as is unfolded in Exodus.
The man of faith, therefore, far from being disturbed by the objections of critics, glories in every precious word of this astounding narrative.
We cannot leave this phase of our discussion without pointing out that the Jewish Passover has been a continual celebration of the events narrated here for a time-span of more than three millenniums.
Where is there any event of human history as well attested and confirmed as this?
Frogs, lice, locusts, hail, etc. are in no sense miraculous.
Nevertheless, Bible believers account all the Ten Plagues as MIRACLES. Here are some of the ways in which these wonders were miraculous:
In each case they were accurately foretold, as to the time and place of occurrence.
Both their occurrence and their cessation were demonstrated to be under the control and subject to the Word of God through Moses.
There was discrimination, some of the plagues afflicting the Egyptians and yet at the same time sparing the Israelites.
There was orderliness in their appearance, each event more severe than the one that preceded it, culminating at last in the most devastating of all, the death of the firstborn.
Also, there was progression in relation to the reaction of Pharaoh’s servants. At first, they assayed to do anything that Moses did, but at last admitted their failure and affirmed that, “This is the finger of God!”
We noted above that the plagues generally came in the form of phenomena that were not uncommon to Egypt in those times, or in all times, for that matter.
Critical scholars have objected to Christian recognition of this fact.
Of course, the Christian understanding that natural phenomena were involved, along with the understanding that the miraculous element in the events was achieved largely by such things as intensity, timing, prediction, and control by Moses and Aaron, such understanding leaves the critic high and dry with no valid basis of denial.
The unbeliever would much prefer to point out that frogs in Egypt are common and feel that such a fact as that denies the miracles!
Lastly, with regard to: “And it became a serpent …” (Exodus 7:10).
Oddly enough, the word here rendered “serpent” actually means crocodile, a different word from that found in Exodus 4:3.
Evidently, God had anticipated the action of Pharaoh’s servants, and so the rod this time became a much larger sea animal sufficiently large to swallow all the serpents their rods would produce.
We should not press such a thought, however, because it is not clear that a different species is meant. More probably it is regarded by the writer as a synonym.