Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Treasures of Egypt and the Reproach of Christ

The life story of Moses is fascinating. Born 1400 years before Christ, the infant Moses was placed in a basket of bulrushes by his Hebrew parents and set afloat down the Nile River. The Pharaoh of Egypt had ordered all Hebrew boys killed to cease the growth of the Hebrew nation.  Moses' parents had sent their son down the Nile to escape certain death. When Pharaoh's own daughter found Moses' ark floating in river, she took the Hebrew baby boy home and raised him as her own son. Most people know that Moses became the leader of the Hebrew people in their eventual exodus from Egypt to the promised land of Canaan, but few comprehend the privileged and plush childhood and teenage years of Moses. The writer of Hebrews says, "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt." (Hebrews 11:24-26). What were the treasures of Egypt?

As the adopted son of Pharaoh's daugher, Moses would have been considered a noble of Pharaoh's court. To understand the treasures of Egypt and the riches of Egyptian nobility, one need to look no further than the wealth of the Egyptian King Tut. The Pharaoh called Tutankhamun reigned over Egypt a couple of hundred years after Moses. King Tut died when he was only eighteen, and his abbreviated reign came in the declining days of Egypt’s glory. Moses' adoptive grandfather, Pharaoh Ramses, would have been far richer than King Tut. Explorer Howard Carter, the discoverer of King Tut's tomb, describes his initial view into the ante-chamber (just outside the burial room) which housed many of Tut’s treasures:
[A]s my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold—everywhere the glint of gold (Rapport and Wright 1964, 195).
Carter was the first man in thousands of years to lay his eyes on some of the treasures of Egypt in Tut's tomb. There were over 5,000 articles of pure gold, including "golden beds, gold-covered chariots, carved walking sticks and bows with inlaid gold, and a throne, encrusted with gold, silver and jewels." In the Pharaoh's chamber, there were three coffins fashioned in Tut's likeness. The innermost sarcaphogas was solid gold and over six feet long. In addition, there were six small gold coffins (fifteen inches high) containing Tut’s internal organs. Each small coffin, if melted down today for the gold, would be worth over $500,000.

The death mask (pictured above left) weighed twenty-three pounds and was made of gold and inlaid with semiprecious stones; it covered the head and shoulders of the mummy. The mask was fashioned by goldsmiths just after Tut died, and it respresents how Tut looked when he died. The 5,000 articles in Tut's tomb illustrate the ancient Egyptian saying that in Egypt, “gold is as common as dust.”

Prof. E. M. Blaiklock writes of these vast treasures:
If the tomb of a boy king could produce the beauty, wealth, and art which has so astounded the world, what must the palace of really great pharaohs such as Ramses II have been like? (1983, 459).
Indeed. Further, the writer of Hebrews said that Moses turned his back on the riches of Pharaoh Ramses' court "for the reproach of Christ."  Contrary to what many Christians think, Old Testament saints were very familiar with the Messiah. The sacrifices typified Him, the prophets proclaimed Him, and people of faith believed in Him. Moses deemed it more important to turn his back on the treasures of Egypt, experiencing the scorn and ridicule of his Egyption peers because he became a follower of the Messiah and believed in blood atonement, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.


Next time you get too caught up or bent out of shape over the politics and economics of America, ask yourself if you have helped others experience and enjoy the far more important Kingdom of Christ and His reign in our lives!


Bob Cleveland said...

I spent about 50 years in insurance, retiring about 5 years ago. Additionally, in the middle, I spent a couple years as a business broker.

During that time, I did some big stuff. Sold millions in businesses .. the largest of which was a $1.2 million oil company. On the insurance side, I once saved a multi-million dollar insurance plan we had, by acting on a personal connection I'd established in the insurer ranks. I also invented a new coverage in a particular line of business, giving us a competitive edge over our main competition in that field.

Did a lot of other stuff, too. Got insurance through Lloyds' on a big business, when no one else would insure him. An 18" snowfall collapsed his business shortly thereafter and presenting him a quarter-million dollar claim check was immensely rewarding. As was flying to Mobile to give a bowling alley client a check to get him going after a hurricane.

But you know something? Without exception, those businesses are gone. Every one. So what I did was good, but didn't last very long, despite the fact that what I did was some big stuff. Newsmaking in some cases.

Now, on the Spiritual side, I've done a lot of small stuff. Simple things, over 50 years. Rarely has there been any attention, although occasionally God lifts the veil and we have a "wow moment".

From the perspective of 74 years, there is absolutely no comparison. I wish I'd learned the lesson of this blog post sooner. Like 50 years sooner.

Wade Burleson said...

That, Bob, is an outstanding comment.

Rex Ray said...

Compared to your background; mine would be like when on a mission trip I heard this guy was a good slow-pitch softball player and I told him I was once selected on the church league Texas All Star team. He replied, “This year they put my name in the World Hall of Fame.”

Rex Ray said...

Maybe this is another time to tell Christine a story. As I said before my dad was a chaplain in Patton’s Fourth Armored Division on the front lines throughout the war.

At the close of World War II, Patton stopped his army at Rotenberg (near Berlin). Dad got to know a family who thought their father, who was a doctor in the German army, was dead since they had not heard from him in five years. Only a small girl believed her father would be coming home. The mother asked dad to convince her otherwise, but he told the girl if her father was alive he would find him. The mother said he might find the wrong man. She cut a lock of hair from her daughter and said her husband would have a matching lock as he had taken it when she was a baby.

Dad drove to the POW camps asking for the German doctor. The last one was American; but no luck. As he drove away, a GI hollered “Chaplain!”

The GI said, “I overheard your conversation with the commander. I have a friend in the British Army that was operated on by some famous German doctor. They have this guy hid since they ‘swiped’ him from the Russians.”

Dad returned to the British camp. He told the guards he had orders (from God) to find a German doctor. He got a German soldier to interpret, and talked to each building of prisoners. The last building had four men. They were on their knees. The German said there was no need talking to them as no officer would be ‘shooting craps’, but my father said: “I’ve come to the end and I’ll finish it.”

As they got near, they realized the men were praying. The translator said the American chaplain was looking for Dr. Bayer. No one responded. The translator went on to say the chaplain had good news.

One stood and said in English: “I’m Dr. Bayer. My family’s dead. This war has ruined my life. What possible good news could an American have for me?”

My dad said, “Do you have a lock of hair like this?
Showing a lock, the doctor yelled, “Does she live?”
The smile on my dad’s face was the answer and the other men jumped up and started yelling, “She’s alive, she’s alive!”
The Dr. started crying, and soon everyone was crying for joy including my dad.

The guard told dad, “I see you found your man.”

In three hours, dad took the doctor to live as a free man with his family.

His wife said, “I’m going to kiss the chaplain, and her husband said, “If you don’t, I am.”

In 1947-48, my parents taught school in German to American army children, and we met the doctor and his family. I only learned of this story this year. The little girl’s name was Monticia.

Wade Burleson said...

Your story, Rex, is one of the best I've ever heard.

With permission, I would like to use it in my ministry - giving of course, you the credit for its source!

Rex Ray said...

Thanks, but the story is condensed from eight pages written by my brother, Hez. Many years ago, dad and Hez took cover from bullets flying in all directions. The bullets had been scattered among many sleeping bags and set on fire. (Another story,) While lying behind a low concrete wall, Hez asked why dad was laughing.

“This is just like World War II.”
During that time, dad told Hez the story of Monticia.

I might add after being a prisoner for five years, when Dr. Bayer heard he would be home in a few hours, the roof about ‘lifted off’ by the praises given to God.

Rex Ray said...

Hez said he’d be glad for anyone to use the story for the glory of the Lord.

He said my version left a lot out. I guess he’s right since some said my version didn’t make them cry as the one by Hez.

He sent it to our family reunion this year. When I get it on my computer, I’ll email it to you.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks, Rex!

Great story!

I will use it for God's glory and the advance of His kingdom!


James Six said...

I thought the treasure of Ramses and Tut are all cursed? Some of them are unearthed by scientists and archeologist who are willing to scour the earth for those treasure.