ESV - 29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock.
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1. Pharaoh had already ordered that every newborn Israelite male be killed (Exodus 1:8-22). 2. God publicly warned Pharaoh and Egypt what would happen, but Pharaoh only hardened in his resolve not to let the Israelites go. 3. The killing of Egypt’s firstborn could have been avoided, had Pharaoh simply released the Israelites as God required. 4. While God spared the Israelite firstborn, the Israelites were required to observe the first Passover, and to put sacrificial blood on their door posts. They had to obey God’s command by faith in order to be spared. 5. This is the outworking of God’s covenant with Abraham, many years before in Genesis 12 ("I will bless those who bless you, and those who treat you with contempt I will curse.") It was not the Israelites’ goodness that spared their firstborn, but God’s covenant promises, and the blood of an acceptable sacrifice (Exodus 6:5-8). 6. God is merciful and compassionate, not willing that any should perish. The severity of God’s dealings with Egypt was not pleasurable to God, but was the only just response to the cruelty and oppression of Egypt for many years. (See Exodus 34:6-7, Ezekiel 18:31-32, and Ezekiel 33:11.) 7. It is easy (especially from movies related to the exodus) to think of the death of the firstborn primarily in terms of babies and infants. However, we should not assume that the firstborn of Egypt were innocent “collateral damage” in this conflict. The firstborn son is the rightful heir of the father, to lead or to rule in his place. Thus, the middle-aged firstborn of Egypt would have been the current leaders (or at least the next generation of leaders), of the nation who would have been active or willingly complicit in the oppression of the Israelites. 8. God was equally severe with the Israelites when they were guilty of sin. God did not simply bless Israel, regardless of their sins, and yet punish all other nations for their sins.
Scripture explains that GOD defines 'love' very differently than the world because He actually is 'love' itself, (1 John 4:8,16), and because His version of 'love' contains no hypocrisy: "Let love be without hypocrisy—by abhorring what is evil, clinging to what is good." (Romans 12:9). We cannot actually 'love' anyone while we tolerate or even encourage evil. GOD hates evil. He says so plainly, so His definition of love includes hate. Read Proverbs 6:16-19 and you will read GOD's description of how evil manifests itself among humans in 'seven' specific ways that He hates. Many people reject GOD using arguments based on questions like the one you asked. However, they do so while they live in a 'civilized' society where right now a baby is trapped in a car being burnt alive after watching their parents die in front of them in a car wreck. This is happening, (and happens every day), because this society 'tolerates' it as something called the 'price of Progress.' If I asked you to stop using cars so we can save all of the infants from this horror, would you? You would probably just tell me that it isn't your fault and that it wouldn't stop it from happening anyway. You would just be stuck without the ability to travel. If it happened to someone you know, maybe you would even devote your life to studying how to 'minimize' this occurrence by making cars safer, people less negligent, or restricting their use in some way. Would it help? Not really. It would only really help you feel better about it. Lots of people are doing just that and now they have dead babies and a useless hatred for the system that keeps allowing it anyway. "Now at that same time there were some present who were reporting to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered these things? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.’" (Luke 13:1-3). After Jesus had described Pilate killing human beings to use their blood in sacrifices to his pagan gods, He went on to describe a local building collapse and its victims, drawing the same conclusion, (Luke 13:4-5). 'We will all likewise perish, unless we repent.' In modern times we cover up evil to make it seem noble using words like 'Progress.' In Christ's day this was called 'Mammon' (i.e. a pagan god of wealth). In ancient times, people acknowledged the source of the evil and openly worshiped it in order to 'appease' it or receive its knowledge or resources. Burning children alive was the practice of people who worshiped a god called 'Molech.' About the same small percentage of their population of children was 'sacrificed' inside a metal bull that was intentionally heated with the child trapped inside. 'Moloch' is only one of the many false gods now making up modern 'Progress.' Together Christians call them the 'spirit of antichrist,' (1 John 4:3). These evil sources of knowledge and power each used to have their own religious systems which GOD's people ultimately destroyed, (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). They even used to fight each other. They had no choice after Christ's work but to join together against Him, leaving us with only 'Christ' and 'antichrist.' You will see them each operating on large scales inside of our 'modern' system. They demand the same sacrifices of blood and treasure in exchange for their 'knowledge.' Does GOD hate them any less? No. However, GOD loves liberty, (2 Corinthians 3:17). Liberty requires having at least two distinct paths so we can choose for ourselves. GOD is only good, so the only other choice is evil. When GOD orders judgments upon a society, it is only because they have already made this choice to abandon or oppose GOD and His goodness. They refuse to 'repent.' With the entire society on this path, they will 'all likewise perish.' Love stops this using lesser judgments.
Exodus 12:29: And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. Having the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge to make them wise (Gen 2:9), Eve and Adam were deceived to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. The Lord then drove them away from the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:22,24) so that they don’t eat from the Tree of Life and live forever. Thus, the Lord destroyed all the flesh with the earth, which was filled with violence, but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, for he walked with God he and his family were saved. (Gen 6:8,9,13,17,18) Mankind’s imagination continued in their evil thoughts and their ways right from their youth (Gen 8:21) just as David prayed to the Lord to have mercy upon him, for he was shaped in iniquity and in sin, from his conception. (Psalm 51:5) Every child born has a sinful nature in the blood, for they are conceived by it. The firstborn of Egypt along with the firstborn of the cattle was the “Sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover” (Exo 12:27) for the children being partaken of flesh and blood were for their lifetime subject to bondage (Heb 2:14-15) Ham’s son Canaan being cursed, and his grandson who begat Nimrod, their imaginations could not be restrained as they were led to build the tower of Babel to reach heaven, which then confounded the language they spoke, and they were scattered. (Gen 11:4,6,8,9) The firstborn sons of Egypt were the first fruits of their strength who were born (inherited) from the tents of Ham (Psa 78:51/Gen 10:6-20). They were referred to as the firstborn of the captive (prisoner) who enslaved themselves in the dungeon and worshiped the gods of Egypt (Lev 18:3,27,30 / Exo 12:12), and then who were sacrificed when the Lord smote all the firstborn in the dark at midnight. Numbers 8:17: For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and the beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.
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