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Chapter 5: Cursed Time for Egypt

Chapter 5
Cursed Time for Egypt

 

Having given some basic examples of how Cursed Time worked to the disadvantage of the earth and the Canaanites, we now turn our focus to the land of Egypt. We will see how the birth of Ishmael put Egypt on Cursed Time for 414 years, ending with the fall of Egypt at the time of Israel’s Exodus under Moses.

Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah 14 years after the birth of Ishmael; and Israel was oppressed and persecuted by the son of the bondwoman for 400 years. It began with Isaac’s birth and ended with the end of the oppression by Egypt (the people of Hagar and Ishmael).

One of the most puzzling questions in the Bible is why God sent Israel into captivity to Egypt for 400 years. When we read the story of Joseph, we see God’s good purpose in bringing Israel to Egypt, but after Joseph died, we find his brethren going into a long time of bondage.

In the book of Judges, the reason for other captivities is clearly given: the people had fallen into worship of foreign gods. But for the Egyptian captivity, no such reason is given. Israel is not charged with any idolatry or disobedience of any kind. Even their treatment of Joseph in selling him into Egypt seems insufficient, since Joseph forgave them wholeheartedly and told them that God had “meant it unto good” (Genesis 50:20).

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We saw on pages 19-20 that the 400 years in which Abraham’s seed were to be oppressed as strangers in a land not theirs began with the birth of Isaac. We know that Isaac was born in the year 2048, when Abraham was 100 years old (Gen. 21:5). We also know that Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born to him, for we read in Genesis 16:16, “And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.”

Ishmael was born in the year 2034, precisely 414 years before Israel’s Exodus from Egypt. Once we know something about Cursed Time and see other patterns of 414-year cycles, we can see how Ishmael’s birth brought about a Cursed Time cycle that would put Israel under Egyptian bondage.

The Story of Ishmael’s Birth

The Bible tells us that Ishmael’s mother was Hagar, and that she was an Egyptian (Gen. 16:1). She is said to be the personal property of Sarai, Abram’s wife, for we find that Sarai gave Hagar, her maid, to Abram to be his wife (Gen. 16:3). Beyond this, we know little about Hagar’s personal background, to say nothing of how Sarai acquired her in the first place. The book of Jasher tells us that she had acquired Hagar during their sojourn in Egypt ten years earlier.

Recall from Genesis 12 that Abram had arrived in Canaan just in time for a famine (Gen. 12:10). So Abram took Sarai and continued traveling as far as Egypt. But as they approached Egypt, Abram became concerned that Pharaoh would kill him in order to get Sarai, who was apparently quite beautiful, even at the age of 65. So Abram decided to tell people that Sarai was his “sister." This was a half-truth, since Sarai was the daughter of Haran, Abram’s older brother (Jasher 12:44). Sarai was Abram’s niece, but she was only ten years younger than Abram.

When they arrived in Egypt, sure enough, Pharaoh heard of the new beauty that had just arrived, and he soon took steps to negotiate with Abram to take her as one of his wives. Pharaoh paid a generous dowry to Abram for Sarai (Gen. 12:16), but then God plagued his house. When Pharaoh finally discovered the truth, the Bible says he gave Sarai back to Abram and expelled them from the land of Egypt. Jasher gives us more details in Jasher 15:30-32,

30 And Pharaoh took more cattle, men servants and maid servants, and silver and gold, to give to Abram, and he returned unto him Sarai his wife. 31 And the king took a maiden whom he begat by his concubines, and he gave her to Sarai for a handmaid. 32 And the king said to his daughter, it is better for thee, my daughter, to be a handmaid in this man’s house than to be a mistress in my house, after we have beheld the evil that befell us on account of this woman.

Thus, Pharaoh paid restitution to Abram in gold and silver, but he also was sufficiently impressed with Sarai to give her his daughter as a handmaid. In the next chapter of the book of Jasher, we find Pharaoh’s daughter identified as Hagar. We read in Jasher 16:24,

24 And when she [Sarai] saw that she bare no children, she took her handmaid Hagar, whom Pharaoh had given her, and she gave her to Abram her husband for a wife.

Hagar’s pedigree explains why she despised Sarai after becoming pregnant (Gen. 16:5). She was no ordinary servant. She had been a princess in Egypt. Later, we find that God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah (Gen. 17:15), which means princess. What a fascinating detail to learn that Abraham had two princesses in his house: one a fleshly princess from Egypt, and the other a spiritual princess, so named by God Himself.

God had promised Abram an heir, but year after year went by, and Sarai was barren. No doubt Abram prayed and sought for an answer, but God was deliberately silent, as He often is. Finally, Abram concluded that the promised son was to come through Hagar. This kind of mistake is made by virtually everyone who has received a promise from God. When God gives promises, He tests us in order to teach us secrets of His character and mind that the average believer cannot comprehend. He also teaches us the limitations of our faith by causing us to give up all hope of ever seeing the promise fulfilled. This is called “the death of the vision."

So Abram, the father of faith, lost hope of ever receiving a son through Sarai and began to look for alternative interpretations of God’s Word. There is no way to know how long Abram and Sarai discussed Hagar as a possible fulfillment of the promise, but finally, Sarai gave Hagar to Abram ten years after their sojourn into Egypt, when Abram was 85 years old. Ishmael was then born the following year.

The primary lesson to be learned from this story is that the promises of God cannot be fulfilled with a little help from the flesh. It is a story of the conflict between the spiritual mind and the fleshly mind. It is also a story of the two ways in which men attempt to give birth to the Manchild, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). The first is the way of the law, which says, if a man can just be good enough, then he can receive the promised glorified body. The second way says, if Jesus is good enough, then we can be glorified. Either way, the law must be satisfied, for it requires Perfection. If we attempt to present ourselves to the law, we will find that the law rejects us, for no man qualifies. Only Jesus was perfect; only He qualifies. We must present Him, not ourselves, in order to receive Justification before the law.

Abram attempted to bring forth the promised seed by means of the flesh (through the bondwoman). In that, Abram is much like all of us during our training. It was not that Abram was an unbeliever. He was indeed a believer, one who had faith in God, one who was Justified by that faith. However, his Justification did not warrant a name change. God did not change his name to Abraham until he was 99 years old. In modern terms, the change from Abram to Abraham signified not the conversion from unbeliever to believer, but the change from Christian to Overcomer. As an Overcomer, Abraham was circumcised at the age of 99, and only then did Sarah conceive Isaac.

Abraham and Sarah conceived Isaac by faith; Abram and Hagar conceived Ishmael by a fleshly persuasion of God’s promise. Thus, Ishmael was born by the will of man, “born after the flesh” (Gal. 4:23). So how did this affect Abraham’s seed in subsequent generations?

The chosen seed of Abraham was to be given authority over the earth. Abraham was the birthright holder from Adam, who had been given dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:26). The final birthright holder would, of course, be Jesus Christ; but there are others who serve as types and shadows of Him. Such is the case of Isaac. He is a type of Christ. More to the point, he is a type of Christ in you, who is to be birthed into the world as a joint heir with Christ.

When Abram took Hagar to bring forth Ishmael, it was with the intention of bringing forth the promised seed. Thirteen years later, when God revealed that Ishmael was not to be the chosen seed, Abram seemed to be surprised and certainly concerned for Ishmael’s welfare.

Ishmael Chosen by Abram

After waiting many years for the promised son, Abram and Sarai decided that the time had come for an alternative interpretation of God’s promise. Pharaoh had given his daughter Hagar to Sarai as a handmaid, as restitution for putting Sarai in his harem (Gen. 12:15; Jasher 15:31). Abram and Sarai finally decided they would bring forth the promised son using Hagar as a surrogate mother. This was perfectly lawful under the laws of Hammurabi (Nimrod).

Thus, Ishmael was born, and Abram had every intention of making him the inheritor of the promises of God. Ishmael became (legally) the “chosen seed” for a time—chosen by Abram and Sarai, though not ultimately chosen by God. Not until Ishmael was 13 years old did God reveal to Abraham that he would have another son through Sarah who would be the true chosen seed. By this time, Ishmael had undergone his second sonship ceremony, called in later years the bar mitzvah. Since there were three sonship ceremonies in all: weaning, bar mitzvah, and the full sonship at maturity, we see that Ishmael had been declared a son on just the first two levels.

As a result, God honored Abraham’s declaration of Ishmael’s sonship by making him (and Egypt) the chosen people for a time. That is, he gave Ishmael (the individual) and Egypt (the nation) the authority and responsibility of bringing forth the Kingdom and birthing the Manchild. Thus, Ishmael, the son of the bondwoman, persecuted Isaac, the son of the freewoman (Gal. 4:29); and Egypt, the nation of the bondwoman, put Israel into bondage.

Ishmael and Egypt did not have the spiritual character to handle such authority. They used their positions to oppress, rather than to establish liberty. They thought that their positions meant that they were to be served by others. They did not see their positions as that of responsibility to others. But with God, all authority is accompanied by an equal level of responsibility. Anything that falls short of this standard is unacceptable in the sight of God. It will not stand forever.

The nation of Egypt was given precisely 414 years in which to bring forth the Kingdom of God. This was their grace period. Of course, they failed. And so we see that precisely 414 years after the birth of Ishmael was the year of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt. Ishmael was born in the year 2034, and 414 years later was 2448, the year of the Exodus. At this point, Egypt was judged and nearly destroyed, along with all of its firstborn. Egypt enjoyed the blessings of the authority God gave them. But the great responsibility of being “chosen” put Egypt on Cursed Time. That is why God judged Egypt with 10 plagues. This is why God destroyed the Egyptian army at the Red Sea. And that is why God brought Israel out of Egypt at that particular time in history. Ishmael-Egypt’s time was up, and it was then time for the seed of Isaac to become the true inheritor.

How Egypt Gave Birth to Israel

Paul tells us in Galatians 4 that the story of Hagar and Sarah is a tremendous allegory by which we may learn many spiritual truths. Paul makes it clear that the “son of the bondwoman” (Gal. 4:30) cannot inherit with the son of the freewoman. In other words, it was not possible for Ishmael or Egypt to bring forth the Kingdom of God and fulfill the role of the promised seed.

Egypt typifies the world and the world system, which can only bring men into bondage—never into “the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). Ishmael was half Egyptian, half Abrahamic. Allegorically, this teaches us that even believers having Abraham as their father cannot bring forth the Kingdom, so long as they have the world as their mother. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom (1 Cor. 15:50), nor can children of the flesh.

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Abram took Hagar and brought forth Ishmael; this set the national pattern, for then God took “Hagar” (the nation of Egypt) and brought forth Israel. When Egypt gave birth to Israel, Israel was spiritually half Egyptian. Israel had God as their father, but Egypt as their mother. For this reason, the Israelites had dual loyalties and motivations. On the one hand, they wanted to go to the Promised Land, but they also had a difficult time leaving their mother. Every time they ran into problems in the wilderness, they were ready to run back to mother Egypt. Their attachment is as apparent as we would expect to see with any small child.

Thus, we see that Israel’s spiritual condition was a corporate manifestation of Ishmael, who was half Egyptian as well. This is plain when we see the bigger picture: that God “married” Egypt to bring forth His firstborn son, even as Abram “married” Hagar to bring forth Ishmael. The parallel shows us that the nation of Israel was a spiritual Ishmaelite when they were birthed from Egypt. Ishmael and Isaac allegorically represent two stages of spiritual development which were later fulfilled in the nation of Israel, beginning with their Exodus from Egypt.

Israel Was a Spiritual Ishmaelite

We have already seen the parallel between Abram/Hagar and God/Egypt. This parallel also identifies Ishmael with Israel. Ishmael was the son of Abram and Hagar; Israel was the son of God and of Egypt. What does this teach us? In Genesis 16:12, God told Hagar that her son would be a wild-ass man.

12 And he will be a wild man [Hebrew, pereh adam, “wild-ass man”]; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

The Hebrew word pereh used in the verse above is always translated “wild ass” in the King James Version, except in this particular verse. It is unfortunate that the translators did not realize the importance of the symbol of the ass in the Bible; hence, they dispensed with it. But once we see that Ishmael is identified as a wild ass, we can see the spiritual significance in this story. Jeremiah 2:24 likewise identifies Jerusalem as a “wild ass,"

24 A wild ass [pereh] used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion [time of “heat”] who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her.

It is self-evident that neither Ishmael nor Jerusalem were literal wild asses. The Scriptures are speaking figuratively. Both were spiritual wild asses, in that they preferred wilderness life to a life of servanthood in God’s house. They loved their sexual freedom. In other words, Jerusalem, who was supposed to be married to God, refused to remain faithful to Him in that marital bond, for the city continually followed after foreign gods. This is the condition of the spiritual wild ass.

Therefore, we see the spiritual connection between Ishmael and Israel. When Egypt gave birth to Israel, she gave birth to a spiritual wild ass. Israel continually rebelled against God from the start, and violated her marriage contract that she had vowed at Sinai (Ex. 19:8). So the question is, how could Israel become acceptable to God? How could Israel bring forth the righteousness of the Kingdom as God’s firstborn son? The answer is found in the law of the Firstborn, in Exodus 13.

The Law of the Firstborn

We have already seen that Egypt was giving birth to God’s firstborn son. But Israel was far from perfect at this point. They were yet half Egyptian. They had a heavenly Father, but they had an earthly mother. They were spiritual Ishmaelites. In Bible symbolism, they were “wild asses." And so, God had to do something about this before He could accept them as true sons. He instituted the Feast of Passover to rectify the problem. In God’s explanation for the Feast of Passover (Exodus 13), we read in verses 8-13,

8 And thou shalt show thy son in that day saying, This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt… 11 And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites… 12 That thou shalt set apart unto the Lord all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the Lord’s. 13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck; and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.

Asses were not “clean” animals. They were unclean and unfit for their firstborn males to be given to God. And so God mandated that lambs be given as substitutes for the asses. Then, in the same sentence, God informs Israel that all their firstborn sons had to be redeemed by a lamb. Without that Passover lamb, all the firstborn of Israel would have died along with the firstborn of Egypt (Ex. 12:13). In other words, the Israelites were all spiritual asses in need of redemption. They were spiritual Ishmaelites, wild-ass men. And so they all had to keep the Feast of Passover, wherein they offered to God a spotless lamb as their substitute. The Passover lamb qualified them to be called the sons of God.

In a New Testament context, we observe Passover through the blood of Jesus, who is our spotless Lamb. In our fleshly bodies, we are all wild asses, having a heavenly father and an Egyptian “mother," and this is why in Romans 7:24, 25 Paul cried out,

24 Oh, wretched man that I am!… 25 With the [spiritual] mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Our tendency to sin (the carnal mind) is not from our heavenly Father’s genes, but from our fleshly mother. We are a mixed seed of heaven and earth. We are therefore unacceptable to God in our present condition. But praise God, we are made clean offerings upon His altar by the law of Substitution. Jesus came as our Passover Lamb to redeem the firstborn wild asses. This has given us a positional righteousness with God, for He no longer looks upon us as asses, but as the sheep of His pasture. We are imputed righteous, God calling what is not as though it were (Romans 4:17).

Why Egypt Was Destroyed at Passover

As we saw earlier, Abram imputed “chosenness” to Ishmael when he was born in the year 2034. By extension, this made the nation of Egypt the chosen people temporarily. That is, Egypt was given authority over Israel for 400 years (beginning with the birth of Isaac). But this authority was accompanied by the responsibility to bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom, namely, the Manchild, the perfected Sons of God. This they could not do, for they were not truly “called” in the ultimate sense.

And yet, Ishmael and Egypt were both a part of God’s Plan to bring forth the firstborn son of God (Israel). Egypt could not bring forth the perfected Son, but she did bring forth a wild-ass son who would need redemption by the Lamb in order to be acceptable in God’s sight.

When God told Moses to return to Pharaoh to lead Israel out of Egypt, he gave instructions in Exodus 4:22-23,

22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, even My firstborn. 23 And I say unto thee, 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 firstborn.

So Moses went to Pharaoh, but he told Pharaoh something a little different. This adds an interesting detail to the story. We read in Exodus 5:1-3,

1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness. 2 And Pharaoh said, 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. 3 And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us; let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert and sacrifice unto the Lord our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.

What feast were they talking about? It is the feast later known as Passover. They had to keep this feast, lest they be killed by God. Why were they in danger? Because in the law of the Firstborn, if the lamb was not substituted for the ass, the ass was to be killed (Ex. 13:13).

Pharaoh, however, refused to allow Israel to leave and make that sacrifice. This made Pharaoh liable by law, and God held him accountable. It was necessary that Moses and Aaron give Pharaoh opportunity to allow Israel to make this sacrifice, in order that Pharaoh become legally liable. This is why all the firstborn of Egypt eventually died at Passover. Pharaoh had “bought into” the problem. The “asses” of Israel were willing to make the substitution, but Pharaoh was not. Thus, Egypt’s firstborn were all killed at Passover in the year 2448.

God had given Egypt opportunity to avoid the judgment of Cursed Time at the end of their 414-year grace period. When they rejected the mercy of God, hoping to retain the benefits of Israel’s labor beyond their allotted time, God judged them.