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by Dr. John Thomas
"I am the Lord," said He: "and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah (He who shall be) was I not known unto them.
And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage: and I have remembered my covenant.
Such was the preamble.
The God of Abraham was about to begin the fulfilment of the covenant in that part of it which related to "the fourth generation" of the natural seed.
He was therefore in relation to Israel about to become known as the performer of His word.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew Him as Almighty; but as they had died without receiving the promises covenanted, they knew Him not as Jehovah; yet as Jehovah is now the name of Abraham's God unto all generations, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will know Him as set forth in His memorial, when they rise from the dead.
He will then be Jehovah to them.
Because, then, after nearly 430 years from its confirmation, God had remembered His covenant, He said to Moses.
"Say unto the children of Israel, I am Jehovah, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments; and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, who bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
And I will bring you unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for a heritage: I am Jehovah".
According to all these words Moses spoke to them, "but they hearkened not to him, for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage".
After this the judgments of God fell fast and heavy upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians, until at length they rose and thrust the Israelites out of Egypt.
The record of this event is thus given by Moses.
"Now the returning (vemuseb) of the children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.
And it came to pass, at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the self-same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.
It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord, for bringing them out from the land of Egypt; this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations".
The period here indicated was 430 years from the confirmation of the covenant now remembered of God, which occurred on the 14th of Abib, or Nisan, at even; the month when the Jewish year and calendar begin, answering to the latter half of March and the former part of April.
The terrible display of power by the hand of Moses, while it filled the minds of the Egyptians with dismay, convinced Israel at length that God was able and willing to perform what He had covenanted to do.
He had said to Pharaoh, "Israel is my son, even my first-born; therefore, let my son go, that he may serve me; and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy first-born".
This threat had at length been carried into execution; and: "there was not an house in Egypt where there was not one dead".
First-born for first-born.
If Pharaoh destroyed God's first-born, God would retaliate upon him, and not spare his.